How do we feel as a nation about our children?

The news lately is not good in terms of America’s children. I just heard this morning that we are at a thirty year low in crude birth rate. Back in 1960 we were around 24 births per thousand. Today it’s around 12. What do these numbers indicate about national attitudes? Last night I heard again how severely depressed the younger generations are, with suicide rates rising.


One strong indicator of how we feel about our children is how much we spend to keep them healthy and happy. In that department it seems we are falling far short, spending only around 10% of our total budget on programs for children.

“In 1995, America ranked ahead of nine developed nations in the share of the economy the federal government spends on children. Since 2004, America has ranked third-to-last in spending, with only Mexico and Turkey lagging behind, as other countries have increased their spending on family benefits.” 


These statistics become even more interesting when we compare them to the 46 percent of the federal budget we spent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for adults. It appears we have been helping out our elderly at an increasing rate, but ignoring the needs of our young.

Also in the news constantly, our apparent inability to pay teachers a living wage, not to mention daycare workers and others who cater to the needs of our youth. Do these numbers reflect how we really feel about the future citizens of our country?

This has been an issue for us as Americans for decades. Do we care about the children who aren’t ours? I know for certain the present administration does not care. What about the rest of you?

3 thoughts on “How do we feel as a nation about our children?

  1. Oooh . . . don’t get me started! Our children. Our future.
    And we sideline them and ignore them and pass them off to others . . .
    Yeah, I should probably stop there . . .


  2. The data isn’t quite what it says, and the issues are more complicated. We have a decline in economic status among young adults which is causing many to defer marriage to beyond normal child-bearing years (age 45 or older). At the same time, that average Social Security monthly check is $1,600, which isn’t enough to make ends meet for most of the elderly. In fact, if young adults were to save adequately for retirement, they wouldn’t have kids at all.

    The cutbacks in reproduction are swinging the population toward a greater predominance of Asian and Hispanic households. The extended family structure in which grandparents provide daycare enables them to have more children and earlier children than other groups especially Caucasian households. Without any new immigration, whites will be less than half of the US population in about 10 years.

    So the underlying issues are:
    (1) cost of education and burden of student loans
    (2) inadequate government services for retirees, requiring people to save more during their work lives, at the expense of other activities including child raising
    (3) the atomic family
    (4) healthcare costs for people in their 40s and 50s with children

    America doesn’t help its people in the way that other industrialized countries do, and allows profiteering that other countries don’t. We all pay for that, and the cost affects how we live.


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