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Women Aren't Having Kids Because They Cost Too Damn Much

Elizabeth A, age 31, has more than a few reasons for not having children yet, but one of the standout reasons is money. “Financially speaking, the world is such an unstable space, and most people I know, including myself, are self-employed, freelancers, artists,” she tells Betches. “It’s nearly impossible to get a home loan without consistent income on paper.”

She knows that no one is ever really prepared to be a parent, but she wants to make sure she’s set up for as much success as possible when she goes down the parent route. “Even if I’m doing well, the next month of next year could always be a totally different story with the way the economy is,” Elizabeth says. “Not exactly the most reassuring environment to start adding people to the budget!” 

Like Elizabeth, I’ve known for quite some time that I don’t want kids. I don’t want to give birth, I don’t want to adopt, I don’t want a surrogate — I just envision my life without ever having to take care of children… and I feel really happy and confident in that position. While you might immediately think I’m selfish, I’m not alone in this feeling — because one of those “sacrifices” is money, and as you can see, lot of people are realizing just how expensive having a kid is

In fact, according to an Intuit Credit Karma survey, 35% of millennial women don’t want kids at all — and 40% of those women say it’s because they cannot afford it. Take a look around you… are you really surprised?

Young tired single mother suffers from headache closed eyes touch forehead sitting on couch while her daughter and son running around her and shouting, female babysitter feels exhausted by noisy kids
Image Credit: Shutterstock

In 2022, it was estimated that it could cost parents $310,000 to raise a kid who was born in 2015 to the age of 17. Seventeen. So that’s not even taking into account college funds or life after college because, let’s be real, this job market? Not the best. And that was in 2022. Our inflation rate has gone up over three percent in just the last year. So that $310,000 probably has a couple thousand dollars racked on top of it. How much is the average American bringing in every year? I’ll give you a hint: Nowhere close. In the U.S., the average income is a little less than $60,000. I’m a writer, but I know that math just doesn’t add up. 

If you want children and the prospect of bringing someone into this world excites you, and you’re eager to raise a good human being, I absolutely love that decision for you. I think people who want to become parents for the right reasons should totally become parents — we need more loved children in this world. But I also think it’s time people stop looking at people who don’t plan on becoming mothers like we said we just killed someone — because some people just don’t have the means to. So, as fulfilling and beautiful as motherhood can be, people are starting to realize that it might not be within their budget. 

And even if they do, think of all the unpaid labor that mothers do. In a heteronormative relationship, even if you have really good partner and baby daddy, statistically, as the mother, you’re just going to end up doing most of the work when it comes to the kid. And odds are you’re doing most of the housework, too. So when you consider finances and think about how working full-time might be your best bet to afford a kid, think about how much of your life becomes about doing work (both in the office and at home). 

So, while I have a novel’s worth of reasons why I want to be childless, let’s just chalk it up to the fact that I have a certain vision for what I want my life to look like, and that doesn’t include making sacrifices to take care of a child. And that’s a totally valid reason on its own. 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.