Kids too expensive
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.