Economy, climate have Australians thinking twice about having children


Australian couples are reconsidering having children as the cost of living rises with no end in sight and house prices soar.

Others fear their children will face an unsafe future due to climate change, or don’t want to contribute to global overpopulation.

The consumer price index rose 5.1 per cent in May including a 13.7 per cent increase in transport costs, 6.7 per cent for fruit and vegetables, and 6.2 per cent for meat.

Petrol prices are above $2 a litre even after the fuel excise was halved, and a doubling of power bills means $118.67 more a month in bills.

Property prices skyrocketed 35 per cent since the pandemic began and far more over the past decade, and a 0.5 per cent interest rate hike to 0.85 per cent on Tuesday made them more unaffordable than ever.

Rachael Schnurr, 32, said she and her husband Dan, 35, (pictured together) have discussed having children but ‘lean further and further away from it every year’

Meanwhile, Russia is three months into an invasion of Ukraine, China is growing more belligerent, and climate change is already creating extreme weather.

‘Hyper-inflated house prices, rising interest rates, a head of lettuce costs $10, crazy petrol prices and no wage increases to offset what is currently going on… does anyone else feel like they just can’t have kids even if they want to?’ a woman asked on Reddit.

‘I’ve always been on the fence anyway but just had a conversation with a friend who was in tears because she feels like she’s never going to be able to take the time off work she would need to raise a child and still be able to afford her mortgage. It’s broken my heart.’

Another said Australia’s ‘obsession’ with owning homes to raise families, combined with rising property prices, led to fewer children.

‘A lot of people i know in their mid 30s want kids but focused on housing and finances first. Now they are ready, they face more pregnancy issues due to age,’ they wrote.

Felicity Lochhead, 28, is concerned about the kind of future her children could face due to climate change

Felicity Lochhead, 28, is concerned about the kind of future her children could face due to climate change

A third said the fact they couldn’t see good savings or super in their future meant having children was not an option.

‘Unless I meet someone rich. I hope to be in a position to adopt when I have stable accommodation and work but I don’t really even work in a field where that’s possible,’ they wrote.

Another wrote: ‘I can barely afford to support myself at the moment. I have no hope of having a family even if I wanted to

‘Besides, I don’t want to bring kids into this world even if money wasn’t the issue. It will probably only be worse for them.’

More people blamed high property prices that meant young people would struggle to own a home, coupled with rising rents.

‘The cost of living is astronomical, most people in my age group 25-35 will never be able to buy a house unless they get a low interest loan from the bank of mum and dad,’ one wrote.

‘Rental prices are so high, I know of some people skipping meals and even only feeding their kids whilst they have a piece of bread with honey on it, or nothing at all.’

Mrs Lochhead (pictured) and her husband Hayden, 30, live in Illawarra, south of Sydney

Mrs Lochhead (pictured) and her husband Hayden, 30, live in Illawarra, south of Sydney

Other Australians simply don’t want to bring children into the world only for them to suffer the effects of what they fear will be catastrophic climate change. 

Climate change organisation 1 Million Women and the Australian Conservation Foundation surveyed thousands of women to find out what their thoughts are on changes to the environment.

The survey of 6,500 people found 33.4 per cent of women under 30 were apprehensive about having children as they are anxious about the future of the planet.

Felicity Lochhead, 28, said she was concerned about the effects humans are causing on the planet and was hesitant to bring a child into the increasingly dire situation.

‘I’m at the stage of my life when everyone is asking when we are going to have children,’ she said.

Women reconsidering having children due to climate change

33.4 per cent of women under 30 said they were reconsidering having children or having more because of global warming

22.4 per cent aged 30 to 39 said they were reconsidering having children

45 per cent aged 30 to 39 said they have children or plan to, but were worried about effect of climate change on children

88.7 per cent of women surveryed said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about climate change 

Source:  Australian Conservation Foundation and 1 Million Women survey

Ms Lochhead and her husband Hayden, 30, live in Illawarra, south of Sydney.

The couple said they were trying to balance their desire to start a family with the impacts of global warming.

‘I am constantly learning about and focused on the damage we have done and continue to do. It is depressing,’ she said.

‘I am very, very apprehensive to have children, even though I feel like I could be a great mother… I don’t know what to do.’

Rachael Schnurr, 32, her husband Dan, 35, live in Michigan in the US, and have discussed having children but ‘lean further and further away from it every year’.

‘Initially that was our plan, a big biological family, but things have evolved,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Schnurr said not wanting to contribute to overpopulation was one of the factors they have considered.  

‘Right now we figure we’re good and if we ever really wanted kids, we would rather adopt because it would be better for the planet in multiple ways,’ she said.

‘Once we started to really think about how ridiculous it is to continue reproducing on this overburdened planet, it was hard to think about it any other way.’ 

Couples are deciding against starting a family because they fear their children will face an unsafe future due to accelerating climate change (pictured: a coal power station in Victoria)

Couples are deciding against starting a family because they fear their children will face an unsafe future due to accelerating climate change (pictured: a coal power station in Victoria)

The Reddit post garnered nearly 100 comments, with the majority agreeing they had reservations about raising kids in the economic environment.

‘Our falling birthrate suggests that the majority of Australians do not want to have children or they want to but cannot because it’s too expensive,’ a woman responded.

‘Or is suggests that quality of life is more important to people. People want a career, holidays, free time, etc. Kids severely impact that,’ another added.

Another woman suggested it was hormones that was driving the desire to have children, rather than any ambition to be a mother.

‘I find, and have spoken to some other childfree women that the urge does disappear. I got that feeling in my mid twenties but by the time I was 35 it was gone, I chalk it up to hormones rather than a true desire,’ she commented.     

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk