Call it a Child Tax. Here’s a succinct graphic by Unbiased America suggesting why Americans are having fewer children.
Unbiased America explained the graphic thus (emphasis added):
(K.R.) Birth rates continue to fall in the United States, and one of the reasons is that the cost of raising children is growing faster than inflation. Since 1960, despite incredible advances in technology and trade that have decreased the cost of food and clothing and so many other expenses, increases in the cost of healthcare and education have driven the financial burden of raising a child higher.
The cost of education, NOT including college, has increased a staggering 825% MORE than inflation, while healthcare costs rose 160% more than inflation. What do these two areas have in common? They’ve been subject to the highest growth rates in government regulation of all the expenses listed here. Meanwhile, expenses such as clothing have come down in price due to trade, while food costs, despite being subject to costly regulation, have benefited dramatically from the green revolution (gmos, advanced farming techniques, etc.).
The bottom line, markets and technology have tended to reduce many costs associated with raising children, while government intervention has increased others.
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Add to these real world financial burdens the incredible social stigmas of having lots of kids, being a stay-at-home parent instead of a corporate glass ceiling breaker, and putting children ahead of personal “me” time, and it is little wonder many Americans women feel pressured to restrict the size of their families. Motherhood is expensive and gets little respect.