The Office for National Statistics said in December that we are now having an average 1.9 children compared to 2.4 children in our parent’s generation.
When you consider that the cost of raising a child to age 21 has risen to an eye watering £201,809 presumably having more than one child become something of a luxury?
Especially when you consider that average annual earnings are £25,900.
So by my calculations, even if you spent on nothing else you’d have to work for nearly eight years to afford one child.
Has having a large family now become part of the great class divide?
Showing that you are either uber rich a la Beckhams, who are currently expecting their fourth child, or part of a Shameless-style tribe? But most definitely not the usual bog standard middle class, doing their best and trying to cope family.
Given that families have already reduced in size, what impact will the current austerity measures and the economic pressure have on the bog standard families? Are they going to be squeezed even more and have to reduce their family size down to what they may not feel is ‘complete’ for them? Are there a generation of families with fewer siblings? Are there a generation of parents with the ghosts of the children they would like but can’t afford quietly haunting them in the quiet spaces of life?
Has having a third or a fourth symbol now become a nappy valley symbol of a life where you can buy in sufficient help through nannies and maternity nurses to ensure you get enough sleep to ensure you have the urge to procreate? Is it the preserve of the hedge fund wives, the banker bonuses, the rich and the shameless?
Have the only people who are going to be willing to breed are those outside the alarm clock class that Nick Clegg identified this week those who don’t have to wake horribly early to get to work, who don’t find themselves already squeezed to pay bills and who are not looking at having to volunteer to fill the gaps that our Big Society can no longer fill?
In fact is it now going to be some kind of status symbol to have multiple children? In some areas in having only the one or two going to be seen as some kind of admission that actually you’re a bit of an underachiever? And then what happens to those families where infertility means their family is smaller than they would like?
And you know what, whilst I don’t think my family is complete at two, I certainly don’t envy the Beckhams and their brood to be of four – imagine if its a boy child there will be four small boys rampaging through that house and Victoria and David are going to have their hands properly full.