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To think Americans have more only children?

(39 Posts)
fairybeagle Thu 04-Apr-19 16:33:02

It seems that Americans seem more likely to have a single child and that it's more of a norm there? Does anyone know if this is correct?
What sort of attitudes do Americans have towards only children? Less negative than other countries?

Youngandfree Thu 04-Apr-19 16:37:45

Possibly true... for one they have a larger population and secondly it actually costs them money to have a baby (not free like in nhs)

mimibunz Thu 04-Apr-19 16:42:44

I think it’s probably true, due to the expense. American mothers are not encouraged or supported to take lengthy maternity leave and they get little help from the state. I believe there is tax relief of about $2k per child per year.

RicStar Thu 04-Apr-19 16:45:21

Compared to UK birth rate is the same 1.8 per woman and average household size is larger over 3 vs less than 2.5. I think this means not more likely than the UK but may be some other countries. I don't think many countries have negative attitudes to only children now- it's growing to be the norm in many places. No idea on US attitudes but would guess they vary by state / back ground.

BiscuitDrama Thu 04-Apr-19 16:47:10

Within those figures there could be more only children and more larger families? I may be getting that wrong. grin


TheLovleyChebbyMcGee Thu 04-Apr-19 16:47:40

Probably true, the cost of having a child, healthcare wise is expensive, and the maternity pay/leave etc is next to nothing for the majority of families

Backwoodsgirl Thu 04-Apr-19 16:53:47

Some context from a Brit In the US. Insurance excess for DD was $2k. I work for myself so can take whatever time I like, however the legal minimum in my state is 6 weeks.

One parent giving up work to stay home is more common than in the UK.

MadameAnchou Thu 04-Apr-19 16:56:19

It seems many either have one or two or are religious (Mormons, for example) and have 4+. A lot of it must also depend on where you live, some places are incredibly expensive to live in and would probably require both parents to work FT, whilst other places have lower living costs and one parent could stay at home and therefore potentially have more kids.

RicStar Thu 04-Apr-19 17:03:23

Yes the stats don't say anything about the distribution of children which could be lumpy. Until recently higher birth rate than UK so i was surprised it had dropped so fast - certainly suggests families are getting smaller and/or more women are having no children. But US is so large and diverse I would expect many micro trends.

Tealtights Thu 04-Apr-19 17:06:43

Well they are a country of 300 million so statistically of course there will be more only children than what we have. As someone else has said relatively speaking it isn't much different.

TheVanguardSix Thu 04-Apr-19 17:09:46

Less holiday plus healthcare costs means having to be sensible. But I see so many women here having 3 and 4 kids when they really cannot afford it. We tend to give this thought back home because the expense is entirely on families.
Child benefit, income support, NHS, free travel for kids... never look a gift horse in the mouth. There are no such animals at home in the States. And university costs at home are astronomical by comparison to here. Also the cost of running a car (or 2 or 3) is a lot more expensive. I'm from California. We drive incredible distances and run our cars hard. This means buying a new car every 4 years. Insurance is expensive back home. Home insurance is expensive. We have earthquakes and fires out west, tornados in the midwest, hurricanes back east.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Thu 04-Apr-19 17:35:11

I notice that Polish and In general Eastern European women (where I live in ireland) tend to only have one child. I’ve often wondered why they don’t go in for more kids or bigger families .

ThriftyMcThrifty Thu 04-Apr-19 17:48:11

I think it’s very localized - I’m in Los Angeles in California and have three and that’s pretty common although two is the norm, but I know families with one and families with seven. Here we can take six months maternity leave, 16 weeks paid, although your doctor can extend the paid portion by a couple of months by saying you are unfit to work and they often do. That’s not the case for other states though. There’s also very good tax relief for each child you have, and that’s not limited to two kids. We get less vacation time but there are a ton of camp options, all very organized and most around $125 to $250 a week depending on whether it’s sports or something more academic. And that’s also all tax deductible to a point. I find it cheaper and more importantly easier to have kids here than in the UK. We wouldn’t have had a third if still living in London. One other thing is that pay is higher for professional jobs, we’d be earning less back home. I know housing is much cheaper in other states, it’s pricy here in LA although cheaper than London. I’ve always had the impression that Americans had more kids than British people - but would love to know what it actually is statistically. When traveling we find it easy to find rooms for five, but cannot get them when we visit back home.

Purpleartichoke Thu 04-Apr-19 17:54:24

Health care and education are fracking expensive. We are very well off and I’m not sure how we will afford one child getting a university degree. Multiple children would be impossible.

LostInShoebiz Thu 04-Apr-19 17:58:35

Wouldn’t you be reluctant if it potentially cost a quarter million to educate them?

Purpleartichoke Thu 04-Apr-19 17:59:38

The average number of children per family is linked to socioeconomic status. Couples with degrees and well-paying jobs tend to have fewer children. This is partly because that group on average places a strong emphasis on education. It is also linked to the career costs of multiple children.

Ironically poorer families tend to have more children . They are less likely to help their child with education costs and already have a parent not working or working odd hours because child care is more than one parents take home salary so there is no financial gain from working.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 04-Apr-19 18:04:49

Stats appear to show more single parent families in the UK.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 04-Apr-19 18:06:46

er single CHILD families.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 04-Apr-19 18:10:00

How is anything calculated these days ?

A and B have one child
A and C have one child
B and D have one child

Within that dynamic, there is the possibility that each household may or may not have a child residing with them

Bagpuss5 Thu 04-Apr-19 18:15:20

Mormons have big families.

TheVanguardSix Thu 04-Apr-19 18:17:11

Going to uni is more important to us Americans. Where you go to university is a big topic of conversation and it defines us. So being able to send our kids to school is hugely important in a way that it's not here in the UK. And sending kids to university in the States is shockingly expensive. You can't send 4-5 kids through university unless you are wealthy or you have access to every grant/scholarship available.

SemperIdem Thu 04-Apr-19 18:17:21

Not sure about real life, but in a great many American tv show’s and films. they seem to have one child. Which suggests it is more of a norm in reality, perhaps.

Tealtights Thu 04-Apr-19 18:19:23

@SemperIdem I always put it down to "lazy" writing not wanting too many siblings creating need for more actors, scenes etc lol.

Unfinishedkitchen Thu 04-Apr-19 18:32:52

Going to the best universities in America costs a bomb.

Also I’m unaware of negative attitudes towards one child families other than from the usual simpletons who can’t understand why someone would do something differently from themselves.

HuntingHeffalumps Thu 04-Apr-19 19:19:28

The few families I know, spread out across the states, seem to pursue extra curricular activities to a higher level and more diligently than over here. That's got to cost.

Acedotes are not data of course but you couldn't do that with multiple children.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 04-Apr-19 21:19:46

Going to uni is more important to us Americans

Yet fewer USAians go to uni than UKians, so I'm not sure why that makes sense.

I think a lot of the comments on US people in this thread are about "rich" educated white families living in the north east or California, and not at all representative of the large differences in other areas.

HeresMe Thu 04-Apr-19 21:33:36

Good that people are having less children, we need less people on the planet, for environmental reasons alone.

VladmirsPoutine Thu 04-Apr-19 21:35:06

By virtue of population I imagine that would be the case.

BloodyDisgrace Fri 05-Apr-19 09:44:49

Do you have any interesting statistics to back this up, OP, or is it just your observation?
I'd be surprised if they do, because abortion situation can be quite barbaric in a lot of states; health insurance, I read, sometimes doesn't cover contraception, so what do they do then if they become pregnant when they didn't want to? You'd think with all that shoddy reproductive health provision and wide spread religious attitudes they would have a one more child? ... Even in Britain every 4th of 5th child is unplanned - I read something to that tune long ago and don't remember the full statistics. Basically, what I'm saying, even here, with more liberal attitudes, people often have children they didn't want to in the first place; so how a country with worse attitudes can afford plenty of 1 child families is a mystery to me... And people do get pregnant while using contraception.

TheFlis12345 Fri 05-Apr-19 09:49:57

My American friend and her husband always wanted 3 or 4 kids. She got pregnant with twins and they were premature, both had a couple of months in hospital but are now fine. Their medical bill, after insurance, was over $2million, which they will still be paying off when the kids are in college. They will never be able to afford to have another child.

francienolan Fri 05-Apr-19 10:51:06

I am an only child and American. My parents had several miscarriages after I was born, rather than deciding they were one and done. But I can see why a lot of families only have one there now. It costs a lot even with health insurance to have a baby, and then you aren't guaranteed paid time off. My last company there gave 4 months and this was generous for there!

Also groceries are more expensive particularly fruit and veg. A single bell pepper costs the same as a happy meal, where I grew up (I grew up in an expensive place, granted). So it isn't like here where you can get good groceries for quite cheap.

Uni also costs a lot. If I hadn't had a scholarship I couldn't have gone. I was lucky to have a scholarship at all, most people take out huge loans!

outpinked Fri 05-Apr-19 10:53:56

It’s too expensive over there to have a child and Mother’s are only allowed six weeks maternity leave. I wouldn’t have children if I lived in the USA.

honeylulu Fri 05-Apr-19 11:03:10

It seems to be more common in America to have an only child if the parents are uni educated professionals. My husband is American by birth (though lived here since he was 6). Most of his relatives in the US have just one child.

fairybeagle Fri 05-Apr-19 21:37:15

No I don't have any stats to back it up @BloodyDisgrace it was just an observation really, although to be honest I was sort of basing it on portrayals of American families in the movies and tv so not a very educated assumption!

I didn't even think about cost really, that's an eye opener. Can't believe the happy meal/bell pepper analogy, that's crazy!!

I sort of thought it was more down to life style, as someone mentioned above, extra curricular activities and such.

TheVanguardSix Sat 06-Apr-19 09:08:39

Yet fewer USAians go to uni than UKians, so I'm not sure why that makes sense.

You just clarified my point that it’s a fecking bomb to go to uni. So this is why many Americans don’t have big families. They want 2 kids at a good uni. Not 5 kids doing night school.
I am one of your USians who didn’t go to uni in the States because I was DC3 and the petty cash box had a hole in it by the time I was ready to go. In 1990, my parents didn’t have the means to pay off the £100k loan for what would have been my 4 year tuition at the liberal arts university I was going to attend.

fromnowhere Sat 06-Apr-19 09:19:00

Speaking of TV/movie portrayals, they always seem to have a big age gap between kids, like a ten yr old and a baby? I assumed that was due to the costs involved in having a baby as well. Not sure if it's common but it seems so in tv?

LostInShoebiz Sat 06-Apr-19 10:00:13

They also always have stuff happen to them in TV shows. It’s not real life; it’s to drive the plot as efficiently as possible.

fairybeagle Sat 06-Apr-19 12:40:15

Yes @fromnowhere that's another thing I thought about, the age gap. But I suppose as pp say it's tv not real life. Although maybe a grain of truth in there somewhere.

OutOntheTilez Sat 06-Apr-19 13:02:20

Speaking of TV/movie portrayals, they always seem to have a big age gap between kids, like a ten yr old and a baby?

I always figured they do that as a plot device. Is the show going downhill / on its last leg? Write in a newborn.

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