Kids too ex­pen­sive

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - AMELIA CHRIS­TENSEN-ROSE

Birth rates are set to de­cline as would-be par­ents dis­cover it’s too ex­pen­sive to have kids.

Massey Univer­sity Hu­man­i­ties and So­cial Sciences pro­fes­sor Dr Natalie Jack­son said cou­ples were choos­ing to have fewer chil­dren be­cause they were wor­ried about un­known fu­ture costs in­volved in par­ent­ing.

It comes after Sta­tis­tics NZ fig­ures showed al­most a quar­ter of a mil­lion more cou­ples were pro­jected to be liv­ing with­out chil­dren by 2038.

Some would be par­ents where chil­dren had left home, oth­ers would be cou­ples who did not want to have kids.

Birth rates were al­ready down to one or two chil­dren per woman in New Zealand.

In Waipa, 2013 Cen­sus data showed there were 5721 cou­ples with­out chil­dren, com­pared to 5004 at the pre­vi­ous Cen­sus in 2006.

The 2013 Cen­sus also showed there were 5382 fam­i­lies with chil­dren when there were just 5124 fam­i­lies with chil­dren in 2006.

There were also 1986 one-par­ent fam­i­lies in 2013, and 1767 in 2006.

Jack­son said there were many rea­sons why peo­ple were opt­ing not to have chil­dren.

Some cal­cu­lated the fi­nan­cial and psy­cho­log­i­cal costs and de­cided to err on the side of cau­tion.

Oth­ers saw chil­dren as just one op­tion among many in their lives.

Gen­der in­equity in the work place which had a big ef­fect on the fu­ture of peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly women, who have chil­dren

Jack­son said the cost of hous­ing ver­sus in­come was an­other ‘‘ris­ing star’’ in rea­sons why par­ents were not hav­ing big fam­i­lies.

‘‘Th­ese days, cou­ples both need to be out work­ing to pay the rent or mort­gage, and while child­care may make it pos­si­ble, for some, it’s such a jug­gling act that they stop at just one or two chil­dren.’’

Work­ing con­di­tions also made work­ing par­ent life dif­fi­cult with peo­ple of­ten work­ing long or dis­rupted hours that were in­com­pat­i­ble with school hours and school hol­i­days.

Jack­son said low birth rates meant more peo­ple were grow­ing up in smaller fam­i­lies, which in turn meant fewer peo­ple would go on to have large fam­i­lies.

Empty-nesters and cou­ples with­out chil­dren would be­come the most com­mon fam­ily type.

Massey Univer­sity Hu­man­i­ties and So­cial Sciences pro­fes­sor Dr Natalie Jack­son.

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