Kate Middleton pregnant
The announcement of Kate Middleton's pregnancy last week was joyous for the Windsor family and royal-watchers alike. But all the fuss around the story hides an uncomfortable truth: For many of us whose family jewels aren't the Crown Jewels, having an heir is getting unaffordably expensive, and in large numbers, folks feeling the pinch are simply putting it off.

In the New York Times, columnist Ross Douthat explained that the waning economy in the U.S. has factored in a drop in procreation stateside.

"American fertility plunged with the stock market in 2008, and it hasn't recovered," he wrote. "American fertility plummeted during the Great Depression, and more recent downturns have produced modest dips as well."

People who saw their net-worths slashed in the housing bust or who have struggled during lengthy periods of unemployment are generally not champing at the bit in their quest to have children.

The Pew Research Center released data late last month that U.S. birthrates were the lowest ever recorded in 2011 -- just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age.

The reasons are clear: The cost of bringing up children has become exorbitant -- even before you consider the rising costs of college tuition. The Department of Agriculture, which has a calculator for estimating the expense of child-rearing, says the cost of parenthood averages $234,900 for one child. According to the calculations, as DailyFinance has reported, a Midwestern family with an annual household income in the $57,400 to $99,390 range, and a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, will spend $578,050 on both by the time the first one reaches college.

Compared with 1960, the 2011 costs associated with raising a child bumped up to 8 percent from 4 percent for health care and from 2 percent to 18 percent for child-care with more dual-income families requiring babysitters.

Of course, there is no set calculus for the price tag on a child, and Nadia Taha at the New York Times estimated that it would cost her nearly $2 million to raise a child. That's to say nothing of the costs associated raising a child with special needs: An autistic son, for example, will cost his parents an estimated $3.2 million over his lifetime.

These hefty expenses represent another example of the middle class squeeze: The top echelon can handle the financial demands, the lowest gets some government assistance, but those in the middle will either try to scrape by to afford kids or not have them at all.

And the ramifications of the latter choice are potentially grave for the country: A new generation means fresh innovation, entrepreneurial flair, a labor force and taxpayers.

We're not that worried about how Will and Kate will manage it: It's slightly easier to handle child-rearing when you have a royal governess on staff, and when your child's great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, has holdings worth roughly $11.2 billion.

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budroesdream

how can anything that this spoiled brats and my life have anything in common...who pays their medical bills.??...just STOP IT

December 11 2012 at 6:13 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
victory

What this article should discuss is the cost and importance of affordable healthcare. This condition, the Duchess is suffering with, millions of woman here in the US need the same type of care, an OB to monitor their daily progress as well as daily IV fluids until this faze passes. I have a good insurance co. which paid for a nurse to hook up two IV bags every morning and disconnect them every evening for 2 weeks, in my home. It's not a luxury, it's survival.

December 11 2012 at 5:34 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
phpoling

That's why I decide to wait to have children even I am only 32 and the recession are still shaky today .

December 10 2012 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
a2plusb2equalc2

The sort of facts that have made Europe and the Far East below-replacement level locales. Russia and Japan are already seeing their national populations decrease. The sort of news that makes Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Zero-Population-Growth and environmentalists happy. The sort of news that keeps the administrators of Social Security up at night: where are they going to get the FICA taxes to pay future benefits?

BTW, morning sickness can be bad enough to require hospitalization. Will & Kate don't have to worry about the insurance; they can pay for it out-of-pocket.

December 10 2012 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kolblh

What's with America's affliction to the Royal Family? What the hell has Will and Kate have to with American fertility?

December 10 2012 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tenderles1

Get real, Kate was hospitalized for morning sickness? Get real, most American women deal with it on their own. If you called your insurance company and tell them you needed to go to the hospital because your pregnant and pucking, they would tell you to abort the baby with a hanger. These rich people make me sick.

December 10 2012 at 4:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
dodie1990

You really think we need more people? With unemployment at 14% and rising, and no good jobs, what are all these extra people going to do? Even minimum wage Wal-Mart can't hire them. Many will wind up on welfare and free medical for life. The unlimited population growth folks have no jobs for anty more people, and watch how much more energy, food,and housing costs will rise. Do you really likew your tiny car and $4.00 per gallon gas. Well, more people and you will be riding a bicycle.

December 10 2012 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dodie1990's comment
Jayne

Not to mention, Where are we going to put all these people?! Future wars will be fought over WATER. Why is it that, so often, we act against our own best interests? Let's take care of the people who are already here before we bring more into the world. It's time to start thinking outside the box--not teaching our kids that the only thing that they may want to do with their lives is "settle down and have kids."

December 10 2012 at 8:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply