questionswhy aren't there many large families any more?

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As @skispeakeasy said, it's only been in the last 75 years that parents could "assume" their children would grow to be adults. In addition, children have switched from being a resource to being a liability: families no longer need six or seven workers on the family farm; instead, parents are responsible for clothing, feeding, and (potentially) sending those children to school.

Moreover, it's only been about 30-40 years since parents could reliably control the size of their family. Birth control changed conception from an automatic consequence of marriage into a choice - and once couples could separate intimacy from conception, they've largely chosen to have fewer children for many different reasons - but the ability to make that choice is only a few generations old.

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I am the fifth of six children, and I promised myself when I was a small child that I would NEVER have that many kids. My mother had a tough time supporting us after she and my father divorced, and it sucked to see all my friends getting new bikes for Christmas and the fancy Barbie dolls with all the [i] accessories [/i]on their birthdays when I couldn't have those things.

My parents couldn't afford all the children they had and the ones who really paid for it was me and my siblings. You sound as if money isn't a major factor and so maybe it's easier for you. I have the one and I feel as if that's enough for me.

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In the days before pre-natal care and modern medicine not many children survived into their teens. You had to have lots of kids to ensure that a few of them survived.

In the modern age I think it's more about married couples who want more free time to live their own lives and have the best posible conditions for their kids on an average American salary.

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With over population a concern and the economy in the tank, many people wonder how you probably afford 5 kids. I know several friends who have more than three and they struggle just to pay the bills.

The hilarious thing is that when the economy is down, pregnancy rises since what else can you do for free? However, people tend to not have more than 2 - 3 kids since it is a drain on finances and is typically burdensome since people with more than 5 kids have only one source of income while the mom or dad stays at home.

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Hans Rosling has done major research in this area. Watch this Teds Talk and it will explain everything you need to know:

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html

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@msklzannie: With more and more automation, what kinds of jobs are these more and more workers going to be performing?

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@purplefeather: I'm with you. I'm the seventh of seven and I don't ever want to spread myself that thin. It's hard enough with 2.

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Fewer farms. That would be my guess.

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@purplefeather: As far as affording kids, I think my dad said it best when he said you can afford whatever you make a priority. We may live a humble life when compared to most, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. My most precious commodity is time and spending quality time together is a high priority at our house.

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@ichigodiafuku: Inventors of better and new automated systems of course.

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@dgarner190: Also: Congratulations on pending #5! Keep us updated!

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@neuropsychosocial: I think the farm work thing is mostly a myth - generally children didn't generate as much energy as they consume while they're growing up, and they don't make up for their preadolescence during their young adulthood on the farm.

I'm sure my great grandfather would attest to that, 13 kids didn't generate more than what 13 kids consumed off of the farm. Still worked out fine though, and he left all his surviving kids (2 died in their teens) a couple million each in the 50s.

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There is apparently less pork.

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I come from a family of 5. All of us are close in age. I have one child. I planned on having more but got divorced and between working full time and raising my son I have limited availability for a new relationship. It seems like part of the problem is time and finding someone to settle down with. Most people seem to be delaying marriage which will then delay children. Had I stayed married I would have had at least three. Now I'm grateful I at least have one. (what I mean is thank goodness I was able to at least have a child before my world fell apart)

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You're not crazy. Neither are the people who choose to not have any. Everyone should just enjoy and rejoice in the family they have - and worry less about other people's choices.

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I know a lot of people with large families. I have 3 girls, and there are many families in our church, in my circle of friends, and in our town with significantly larger families.

I don't understand why people who aren't members of your immediate family to make judgements. It doesn't hurt me if my friend has 8, my aunt is one of 16, or my church friend has 10. It's whatever the adults decide is best for their family.

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@mtm2:

My wife and I are child free by choice. We wouldn't have it any other way.

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@neuropsychosocial: Your right about the birth control. Before there was reliable birth control they should have just gone with my motto -"Don't be a dummy, finish on her tummy".

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I've got a a couple of friends with large families - one with 5 girls 18-5 and one with 5 girls and 1 boy 17-9. We have 4 sons as well.

I don't care what anyone else says - larger families are better then fewer kids or no kids at all.

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I know at least 6 families with 7 or more children. I am from a family of 5 children (granted 3 of my siblings were adopted).

With Social Security, we need an ever-growing population. We have to have more and more workers "investing" in the system in order to fund those currently and soon-to-be drawing from it. (Of course it would also help if Congress would quit "borrowing" from it and never repaying.)