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Fertility rates decrease as rents increase (fastcompany.com)
105 points by jseliger 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments



Here on Hacker News there was some discussion of the article from the Economist, six weeks ago, titled "The link between polygamy and war". This was in response to that essay:

"This suggests that political stability depends on young men being able to pursue their romantic dreams. This would apply in any country, not just African countries. In nations in the West, an important limiting factor is the ability to get one’s own apartment. That is, the ratio of average male wage to average rent. In the USA, the happiest year for this ratio was 1958, when people were spending 22% of their income on rent, on average. Not by coincidence, this was the peak year of the Baby Boom. In some sense, it was the best year in history to be a young white male in the USA. It was the year when it was easiest for an 18 year old male to get out of high school, get their own apartment, marry their high school sweetheart, and start a family. And of course, young people did this in huge numbers, which is why 1958 remains the peak year for teenage pregnancy in the USA."

http://www.smashcompany.com/philosophy/do-men-become-warlike...


> And a team of economists have now crunched the data proving that zoning and restrictive land-use regulations–forces that contribute to making housing so expensive in cities like San Francisco and New York–are actually driving fertility rates downward.

Are they actually preventing couples from having children, or are couples simply moving away from those areas in order to have their children elsewhere?

And on top of that, are the kind of people who move to NYC or SF already the kind of people planning not to have a kid over the next 5-10 years, or ever?

Taking a quick look at the original paper, the authors don't appear to address these potential factors at all.


> And on top of that, are the kind of people who move to NYC or SF already the kind of people planning not to have a kid over the next 5-10 years, or ever?

For what it is worth, NYC as a whole is quite child friendly. Take a stroll around Park Slope and you're tripping over gaggles of children. Now San Francisco? I'm amazed when I see someone under 18.


Let's say that huge gaggle of kids is is 850 children. New York has some 8 500 000 people living in it. That's an adult-to-kid ratio of one to ten thousand.

It's really hard to estimate birth rates by observing people, as our brains just aren't equipped to handle the numbers present. We see the hundreds of children, and flat out refuse to believe there's a decline in births.


You can't compare a gaggle of kids in one particular part of Park Slope to the greater New York City metropolitan area and draw a ratio from that.

I might as well say that the ratio of rats to people in the city is one-to-eight-million because I saw one rat this morning.


I think we're saying the same thing. You can't say NY is child friendly, just because you saw a lot of kids at the park.


Sure, it's child-friendly. How many children do you think I can have in my studio apartment?

Park Slope has a median real estate price of close to $2 million, and average family incomes well into the six figures.


Are they actually preventing couples from having children, or are couples simply moving away from those areas in order to have their children elsewhere?

I once posited that there are so many gay couples in San Francisco in part because people who might, oops, end up pregnant just can't afford it. Homosexual couples who want kids have to arrange it. It doesn't happen accidentally because your birth control failed.


You are asking very good questions.

In my personal experience, I'd say it's preventing. I live in Los Angeles and if I lived somewhere else I would have bought a house and had a child with my partner earlier.

We thought about moving, but our networks and support systems are here as is the free baby-sitting provided by two sets of grandparents.


Also, it doesn't "prove" anything . . . no statistician would ever make that kind of assertion. Correlation is not causation. The conclusion has an error margin.


Depends on the statistical method used. Some quasi-experimental methods like instrument variables or difference-in-differences can plausibly tease causal effect sizes from messy economic data

That said, this paper seems to be mostly simple descriptive statistics


We, typical middle class 2 income and at the time no kids, used to live in a city, which was great for proximity to work and culture/nightlife. When we started to think about having children, we moved to a more rural area with lots of outdoor space and great schools close to a university town.


Since the 1960 the birth rate has been on a downward trend. At the same time the urban population has been increasing.

According to this: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/


I think there is more at play here. Some of the highest birth rates are still in the lowest economic groups. While high rents are a problem and a no doubt causing economic hardships preventing young families from having children I think this is an over simplification of a larger problem.


It is cheaper for us to down-size to a 2 bedroom unit and have one partner working full time than it is to pay for day care for the little one. Even with all the reduced childcare here in Australia the difference at the end of the week comes to $20.

Granted I'm all-ways amazed that in the West on one hand the news proclaim and medical professionals to have children when the women are in there 20's. Although the support and service's such as cheap day-care and family centered activities are completely lacking to support that mind-set.

The message most young people receive is `It is healthy to have children when you're younger`. The reality is `Yes you can, but I hope you like living in a studio apartment counting your monies well all your colleges/friends are having fun`.

That and in today modern world having a child in your 20's is more or less considered social suicide.

The only to maintain a life-style and support structure for young women would be to find a partner who can support them and their child well at the same time maintaining their quality of life. Something such partners are very small so there is a lot of competition for this type of partner.


Yes that's a real challenge for double income families. That it's self is a big change that's not that old. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying women shouldn't work. I'm saying society is still adjusting to that change is all.

For me I chose to get my education and start a career before even thinking about starting a family. Now I'm in my mid 30's I'm really starting to think I may not have played this very smart. I'd have been better off spending more time looking for a partner in my 20's. I'm a man, I hate to think what this looks like for a women who has a more limited fertility time span than I do.


Choosing a female partner (depending if you live in the west) is one of the biggest financial decisions a man will make that can have ramification on your stress/emotion/and success in the future.

Don't take this the wrong way when I read you're in your mid 30's I basically cheered! Go out and meet new people and experience life that you have some money/experience under your belt.

Personally if I had time to rewind the clock, I wouldn't of got Married (here in the west). The legal system, law is blantly sexiest against men it's beyond a joke. Seeing from first hand account of this myself.


Choosing your partner whether male or female is one of the biggest financial decision anyone can make. The person you choose will have more influence over you and the directions your life takes than anyone else.


I’ve always wondered how this can sanity-check. Surely the pool of potential child-care workers is approximately all of humanity, and one worker can care for several children. It’s socially important, but not scarce. How, then, do childcare costs exceed the productive capacity of so many educated, specialized, experienced professionals?

This would seem to indicate that many jobs are bullshit, wages are suppressed, or there is artificial scarcity in the day care business.


Supply/Demand, also consideration when government get involved it's like doing brain surgery with a base ball bat (its going to get messy)

To my understanding talking to the ladies at the child-care center's. The center is required to not exceed x number of children per day/per hour. They can only hire people with the clearance to supervise children after getting their Certificate 3 in child care. Then the staff need to under-go skills/training on their time to improve working with children.

Then you have insurance for the workers, building and also the necessary security and fire drills to be conducted regularly and kept up-to-date.

You have over-time pay, inclusive of when parents are late to pick up the children from day care.


And yet the costs of all of those pale in comparison to rents paid on the school building. In my area, at least, that's the line item that dominates.

That rent then usually gets pumped straight into the bottom line of some REIT or a millionaire's property portfolio.

Back when property taxes were higher, building rents were lower (because as you pointed out, supply usually meets demand) and those taxes helped pay for things like, well, childcare.... rather than yachts.

But sure, we have regulations that keep children safe too, and it's true that they impose a cost.


Childcare was just as exorbitant in my hometown with its glut of real estate (due to being a shadow of its 20th century industrial peak). In many places you’re allowed to run a small childcare facility out of your house (the one permitted commercial use in residential zones). I don’t think the facilities costs can explain it either.


I mean sure, regulation adds some friction, but it seems incredible that the childcare certificate regime could be so difficult that it prevents legions of un/underemployed workers from meeting the extreme demand for childcare services.

It’s a barrier, but so is a Masters in Education. My mother had one, as well 15+ years of classroom experience, and still found it less economically favorable to teach 25 kids vs. directly care for my brother.


I agree it's incredible but (shurg) it's what is. Granted like I said before on the top above/bellow the only real choice Women can make is to Marry or Partner who can financially support them and there children during the first five years. Then once the children go to kinder-garden, school they re-enter the work-force on a part-time basis.

Though I don't have the numbers with me but here in Australia Asian families out-source the raring of infant's and children to the grand-parents. Although talk to any Western family (especially baby boomers) they want nothing to do with raising grand-children.


> but it seems incredible that the childcare certificate regime could be so difficult that it prevents legions of un/underemployed workers from meeting the extreme demand for childcare services.

One big factor is the number of convicted felons, ~10% for the general population and significantly higher for the un/underemployed, that's a huge amount of the potential workforce gone. Another win for the war on drugs.


One big thing is income tax and benefits. Often the lower your income the better. In New Zealand there are a huge number of extra payments you miss out on if you work more, working for families, lower taxes, WINZ child care and more. So if you earn more than someone in working in childcare you have to earn significantly more to cover the taxes (approx 25% in NZ) you're paying and to cover the loss in benefits you don't get.


Add to this that tax benefits are particularly friendly towards single income families, which leads to the second income being taxed at the marginal rate of the first.


> Surely the pool of potential child-care workers is approximately all of humanity, and one worker can care for several children.

Speaking as a parent, I don't consider every Tom, Dick and Henrietta off the street as equivalent caretakers for my child. The pool of potential child care workers is much, much lower than "all of humanity".


It strikes me that there are roughly three categories: 1) people who choose to never have kids; 2) people who want kids, but choose to wait until they can live comfortably, save for college, and so on; and 3) people who just want kids, and figure that they'll work out the details later.

Maybe it's the first and second categories who tend to end up in large cities. And maybe it's the third category who tend to live in the poorest regions. That is rather consistent with the standard understanding that education and economic development tend to reduce population growth.


5) People who have unplanned pregnancies, which can then be subtyped into 5.1) people who keep them, and 5.2) people who don't.


OK, so I maybe got too Aristotelian.


And 4) people who cannot have children for some physical reason (infertility etc)


Thanks. I missed that one :( Sorry.


The poor have more insecurity on a wide variety of issues, including odds of children surviving to adulthood, and odds of maintain the relationship the begat each child (woman loves 3 men, loses each to prison, migratory employment, etc, society gets at least 3 babies).


Going rate for a baby delivery in the hospital was around ten thousand dollars last time I checked. I bet medicaid would absorb it but if you fall between dirt poor and middle class it sounds cripling.


In the USA it's averaging 30,000/50,000 depending upon if it's natural delivery or Caesarian, if you trust the numbers from a childbirth advocacy group. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/16/why-does-it-...


I am surprised more families are not planning a trip abroad around the delivery date, to benefit from cheaper healthcare of a comparable quality + free extra citizenship for their kid.

The market exists in other countries: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-island-where-chinese-mother...

I am surprised american parents don't hedge their bets by getting a EU citizenship for their kid. If anything, the kid may benefit from free healthcare if they get something bad as an adult!


Few countries have unrestricted jus soli (birthright citizenship). Among those, only US and Canada are desirable countries of citizenship. EU countries who have any sort of jus soli have severely restricted it. See some examples:

Germany: Children born on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents acquire German citizenship at birth, if at least one parent has a permanent residence permit (and had this status for at least three years) and the parent was residing in Germany for at least eight years.

France: Children born in France (including overseas territories) to at least one foreign parent who is also born in France automatically acquire French citizenship at birth.

Portugal: A child born in Portuguese territory to who does not possess another nationality is a Portuguese citizen. Also, a person born to foreign parents who were not serving their respective States at the time of birth is a Portuguese citizen if the person declares that they want to be Portuguese and provided that one of the parents has legally resided in Portugal for at least five years at the time of birth.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli


You miss the second part for France: "Children born to foreign parents may request citizenship depending on their age and length of residence."

The rule is as complex as the French law can be... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_nationality_law#French_...

But basically, children born to foreign parents become French at their majority if they lived most of their childhood in France.


So Portugal would work.


As long as you are able to get legal residence in Portugal and willing to spend five years there prior to having a child, sure.


I thought the child was to not have another nationality before, then I realized it was about the parent.


Traveling in the third trimester isn't comfortable or recommended. Premature mile high birth sounds like something people are wary of.


Most airlines won't let you fly without a medical certificate if you look "quite" pregnant (>28 weeks you need documentation).

If you are very close to term, they won't let you fly at all.

Example policies:

http://www.etihad.com/en-au/experience-etihad/special-assist...

http://www.jetstar.com/au/en/help/articles/pregnancy-and-air...


If you could afford a trip like that, you probably already have health insurance in the US.


Which European countries do this? This is more a new world thing as far as I know. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli


Child care is $20,000 to $30,000 per year in NYC and SF and many cities, the cost of the child's health care insurance is around $300-400 for a low deductible plan, and the extra rent, is around $1,200 for an additional bedroom, so the fixed costs are at least $40,000 per year, or one partner needs to drop out of the workforce which has its own costs. The birth itself is equivalent to the cost of only a few months of the child's life. You have to really want children to pull it off in American cities today.

I think the only viable option here if we want children (and their parents) in cities -- which would require buy-in from the older generation -- is to raise property / land taxes and use this to afford better schools and pre-K (so you're only on the hook for the first few years of the child's life), and to build more housing of course.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?cou...


That's a one time expense and is not that high for most people. Real estate is much worse.


I think way too many people rather enjoy the DINK life style rather than have economic issues.

If anything birth rates are higher in the lower end of the socioeconomic scale than in the middle and higher end currently.


Part of that is the upper middle class expectation of owning a house and investing heavily in your child's education. People wait until they are established to have kids, and higher housing prices push that date back.


Speaking for my self, my partner and all our late 20s to mid 30s friends it’s not the money.

We rather rent an apartment across the street from Hyde Park have 2-3 big vacations each year and do a weekend in Europe every other weekend or so than have kids.

And this is not even that much of a conscious decision kids were just never discussed other than the odd “vasectomy commercial” remark when an air raid siren in a trolley passes by.

There is just something different about this generation and it’s not just the socioeconomic issues that some millennial mostly those who were born in the mid-late 90s onwards are having (80s “millennials” are in a pretty good spot IMO). Whether it’s selfishness or infantilism or something less I don’t know but this isn’t about money.

Poor people never had problems having kids, heck they never had problems more kids than the average. Educated people also didn’t had a problem having kids my mother was pregnant during Uni with my older brother gave birth and was back after 2 weeks, when she had me she was teaching and basically had birth came back and we’re going home to breast feed me between classes, I don’t know of anyone who would do this today not saying they don’t exist but all my relationships never were with someone that would be willing to sacrifice or work as hard to have a kid as my mother did.


But surely if you live across the street from Hyde park, go on 2-3 big splashy vacations per year and travel to Europe for getaways every couple weeks, you must be in top 1% of earners. And all your friends are likely rich too. So drawing conclusions from that is meaningless as vast majority of millennials are financially struggling to even think about that.


Rich is relative salaried “rich” and wealthy are different things today.

Rent is high but not much higher than SF about £3000 a month total cost for a 2 bed apartment.

This is doable for many professional couples with a decent job in London say £65000 which is £3800 a month after tax (couple combined pre-tax salary of say £130-150,000 or higher, so combined monthly of 7000-8000 or more post tax).

Myself, my partner and our friends fall into this category as we earn high 5 figures to low 6 figure salaries and we aren’t wealthy despite of having a pretty good lifestyle.

Compared to some guy in middle of nowhereshire that makes £22000 a year if they are lucky we might be considered rich but compared to real money we aren’t any different than the help.


A 'high 5 figures' of £80,000 puts you at the 96% mark according to https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/percentile-points-f....

The only argument you have for not being 'wealthy' is that you're spending all your dosh! There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm just trying to show you aren't anywhere near the median or mode.


Income != wealth, there are about 800,000 millionaires in the UK which means that to be in the 1% (well 1.5ish since the UK has 65M and change population) you need at least 1 million GBP even if you save everything you can with a 80,000K salary you won't get into the 1% in your lifetime.

Being on a good salary means that you can keep a decent lifestyle, however the moment you are off it it's over you have some savings but they won't last you for long, wealth is essentially the independent means to secure financial independence to you and likely your children.

And I never said that I'm near the median, but 65-80K isn't that much for London even for late 20's early 30's that's pretty much a run of the mill salary for most general IT roles with some decent experience (5-10 years), and finance and plenty of other sectors would also get you there.

It's not particularly hard to get into the top 3-1% of income in the UK especially for what I would say the average demographics of HN, however getting to the 3-1% of wealth in the UK is a whole other story.

EDIT: The UK likes statistics so...

It looks like the total household wealth needed to be in the 1% in the UK is 2,872,575 GBP to be in the top 10% it's 1,048,537 GBP, so please tell me how some one who's making even 100,000 a year pre tax is considered a single digit percenter?

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personal...


I think you might be replying to someone else - I didn't suggest you were in the top 1% wealth-wise; just had the potential to be 'wealthy'?

Responding to a few individual points:

Take the 100k amount -> after tax income is ~65k Double that for a couple ("household wealth") = 130k housing = 36k (3k a month) living costs = 30k (based on the fact plenty of people with much lower salaries live in London) savings = 64k

It'd take a little under 11 years for 64k of savings per annum to hit 1M, using long-term index returns, and less than 16 years with no compounding.

If you have a mortgage, two thirds of your housing costs would also be going to 'savings' i.e. increasing your wealth - that's another 24k a year, which would also compound pretty rapidly.

So you could be increasing your household net worth by around 90k per year, which would rapidly put you near the top of the wealth distribution.

Regardless, none of this talk about your high income and low-or-not wealth refutes the fact that you are far from the median or mode, which is the entire point of the comment you were responding to... "drawing conclusions from that is meaningless as vast majority of millennials are financially struggling to even think about that."


Hmm. What is the percentage of your net income you pay for rent? I'm asking because across the street from Hyde Park must be an expensive area and I agree that 65k salary in London is nothing to write home about. It's decent but doesn't make you rich. How many bedrooms are you renting? I assume that if you wanted to start a family you would need to move to a cheaper location and adjust your lifestyle?


Central london isn’t as expensive as some of the suburbs, £2500-3000 is a pretty nominal rent for the area for a decent sized 2 bed 65-70 sq/m (check the rent for Lancaster Gate which is where I live for example https://www.foxtons.co.uk/living-in/lancaster-gate/)

Food and rent and utilities sum to about a 1/3rd of the combined total salary, a big vacation is 1-2 months rent weekend trips in Europe can easily be done on less than £500 heck even under £250 for a city tour flights can be found for <£100 for 2 via low-cost deals of the week, 1-2 nights in a hotel isn’t expensive either so just food since most stuff you visit like museums etc tend to be free or very cheap in Europe.


It also helps, significantly, that you can arrange your holidays outside of the school breaks. That's a luxury on its right, not available to anyone with a family.

The price gouging - excuse me, "dynamic pricing" - the travel industry savages families with amounts to nothing less than a punitive tax on having children.


Dynamic pricing is usually meaning showing different prices for the same itinerary (including dates) to different people or to the same person at different times. Travel being more expensive during peak times doesn't need much dynamism; orlando hotels are going to be full in summer, every year forever, with you get to pay full price; if you go the 2nd week of January, it's probably pretty empty so you get a big discount.


I thought dynamic pricing could also include when the price changes as the supply changes, so you see a flight or hotel room night for x price, and then two days later they're now y price because some of them sold.


Sometimes yes, but the sumner/vacation time blocks start out highly priced, because the demand is known to be high (since it's been high for at least decades)


Well some of it yes, much of it is supply and demand, but even that isn't really the case take for example Japan I got tickets for one of the peak seasons which is the end of march to the mid of april for about 1000 GBP with SAS for 2 people, hotels were about 2000 GBP more but we picked pretty decent ones and add to that about 500 GBP for the monthly rail pass and you can have 2 people spending 2-2.5 weeks in Japan for under 5000 GBP (we end up spending more but that was because of restaurants and shopping, Naniwa whetstones are expensive even in Japan :(). While that is expensive the truth is that on a young professional salary today a couple can afford that and many of use chose to have fun rather than have kids.

On an anecdotal note I always thought that the way children are raised could change, and maybe should change to incorporate both young parents and earlier retirement and that is to effectively have the child care taken care off by the grandparents, basically having kids as early as possible (18-24) and then have the grandparents act as the primary caregiver during the first 10-13 years as that that point they would be around 40 and effectively by the time the kids grow up and have kids of their own you have now established yourself in a position to be a primary caregiver for what is now your own grandchildren.

This might sound dystopian but I'm not entirely sure how we'll cope with not needing to do manual labor (even at home, so no need for little helpers), women seeking career (nothing wrong with that, but man can't get pregnant) and the fact that despite living longer than ever our optimal reproductive age remains more or less the same.


Are you a bot? What does this even mean?!


You are on to me human we will be in touch.


Elizabeth Warren's Two Income Trap argues that families in order to afford living in the best neighborhoods with the best schools moved to two income families. The result was that this priced out single income families from good neighborhoods with good schools.

I believe DINK is less about lifestyle as much as it is about obtaining purchasing power that exceeds dual income families with children. IIRC, the USDA put the cost of your first child at $250k over 18 years and that did not include college.

$250,000 is a lot of money towards a home on a 30 year mortgage. I worry that couples who want children will be priced out almost completely by DINKs.


DINK: dual income, no kids


I think people aren’t having babies because there’s too much interesting stuff to do, and the world has never been as accessible as it is today. Technology has made nearly every corner of the globe accessible for prices that would seem magical a generation ago. As far as our ancestors are concerned, we may as well have invented teleportation.

Then entertainment, wow, the entertainment that’s available at the push of a button. Every song, every tv show, every movie, right in your own apartment! Massively multiplayer games, message boards, Wikipedia; the sum of human knowledge in your pocket.

And you can create stuff, and share it with millions of people without even leaving your chair. Code, music, art, whatever — make it this morning, 100k views by lunch.

There is SO MUCH to do, to make, to share, to learn — our world has gotten so so big just in the last generation that I think I’d be surprised if the birth rate didnt go down. There are just too many other things vying for our finite attention.


I absolutely agree with you and still think it is totally irrational to have kids and cut into your fun -- however, you may be interested in [this comment thread](slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/16/bundles-of-joy/) where many of these crazy kid-having people explain their point of view. It's worth noting that whatever unsatisfactory explanations they manage to convince themselves of, have greater genetic fitness than the ones that convince us. It's very frustrating that even though wrong, they are guaranteed to prevail through natural selection.


> It's very frustrating that even though wrong, they are guaranteed to prevail through natural selection.

I think you're contradicting yourself here.

If you believe it matters whose lineage wins at natural selection, then those parents are in fact right and you are wrong.

If you believe that it doesn't matter, or that it matters less than having your childless fun, then you shouldn't find it frustrating that their genes will win an unimportant game.


I think computer programmers won't understand this problem since i made enough to raise a middle class family at my first job out of college


That's not the case in Silicon Valley anymore.


Your "middle" would likely be "lower" to most people around here.


That could be the case


Where did you live?


Central NJ


I have to call BS on this. even the article itself contain 'While it is impossible to definitively trace a causal link between land use restriction and fertility, the results here suggest that the two are strongly related in the data.'

A correlation is shown, but no causation.

If I needed to speculate, even without resorting to hidden variable impacts, I'd say the market for 'exclusive' housing in less child friendly environments would tend to be dominated by singles and couples with large disposable incomes, potentially resulting from being more career than family focused.

'We can't financially afford having another baby, so we wont' does not seem to hold at all as a rule for primary driver in both present and historic worldwide reproduction data. If anything, it's the reverse.


The HN post title ’Fertility rates decrease as rents increase’ to the article’s ’People Aren’t Having Babies Because The Rent’s Too Damn High’ reflects this well. Thanks HN.


I think that there's a massive correlation/causation problem here. Yes, it certainly appears that restrictive zoning laws are inversely correlated with fertility — but is it possible that the sorts of people who are likely to have fewer children are drawn towards the sorts of cities which restrict construction?


There are so many factors that come into play when deciding to have a child w cost of living being just one of the many. In areas where people are delaying having a family only after establishing their career, people consider: reduction to one income or cost of daycare; what needs of children will do to career and the hours required for career; commute time if having to move out a bit for more affordable housing; concerns with schools (quality of education and violence in the school systems); higher incidents of disabilities based on the age of mother; and rising costs of everything. Autism is steadily increasing and this shows no signs of changing. Discrimination is rampant against pregnant women or mothers in the workplace, and general societal ills all make people question if they want to have children.

It would be very difficult to pinpoint with any accuracy why people are delaying or forgoing parenthood. Some reasons may be very personal or may be viewed as insensitive and may keep someone from stating the real reason why they choose not to have children. They may also may not be able to have children and give a reason because they do not want to share what they may see as something very private.

Maybe this article would be better titled “Is high rent contributing to the decline ..... in high density areas?”


Skimming over the paper that the article references, it doesn't look like the authors have a real way of disaggregating two possible causal pathways from housing costs to delaying/avoiding children:

1. housing costs --> economizing on housing --> not having room for children

2. housing (and other) costs --> higher earning --> longer working hours for both (prospective) parents --> not having time for children.

It would be interesting to know whether people are not producing kids because they can't afford more space or because they can't afford to sacrifice income for childrearing.


Or, as other people have mentioned in the thread, Housing costs -> moving elsewhere to have kids With the people moving to the city being ones that don’t plan on children anyways


This paper is a vast oversimplification of a confluence of many issues, of which rent is only one - and I’d seriously question the causative effect suggested here as well.

Aside, the US fertility rate has taken a steep dive since the Great Recession - during, and for a while after which, the rents were (at least in absolute terms) quite a bit lower.

I have four kids myself, so I’d like to think I understand at least some of the issues fairly well.


Is there no indignity that the boomers will not inflict on their progeny?


The perspective of losing everything in a divorce when kids are involve would be a factor as well.


People do not like have kids in a high population density environment. Humans have a trigger that suppresses fertility when there are too many people around.


There are strong evobio reasons to be extremely skeptical of that comment.


This is plausible but definitely requires references. I would not be surprised if it were something that can be seen in other mammalian species.


[citation needed]


Cities have much lower fertility rates than suburban and rural areal.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12288643


There are vast differences between rural and urban populations, especially in China. The fact that urban households have fewer children in no way implies that density leads to reduced fertility.


That’s a leap. Cities have lower both rates, so humans must have a trigger that turns down fertility?


The OP nor the study made no indication that the two were related — merely that they correlate.


OP very explicitly claimed there's a trigger:

> Humans have a trigger that suppresses fertility when there are too many people around


Don't want to argue, but thank you for actually providing a citation.




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