Loading...
The Family Room The Family Room Blog Home

Single child families: The new normal?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the single child family is the fastest-growing family unit. Is one child the new traditional family - and is it fair?

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Mar 7, 2013 9:43PM

Nearly half of children in the U.K. are in single-child families, Aquarius magazine reports. It’s the same in some parts of the U.S. where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the single child family is the fastest-growing family unit.

Photo: Single child families / Sonntag/Getty ImagesMore from MSN Living: Top 10 dog names of the year

Gallup first measured Americans' preferred family size in 1936, at which time close to two-thirds (64 percent) thought three or more children was ideal. This view stretched to 77 percent at the end of World War II and remained near 70 percent for an additional two decades. But attitudes shifted in the 1970s following the publication of the book "The Population Bomb," which warned of the catastrophic risks of overpopulation.

As U.S. birth rates drop – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the country experienced a four percentage point decline in live births between 2007 and 2009 – and preferences continue to shift toward smaller family sizes, the great only child debate rages on.

More from MSN Living: 15 amazing, inspiring baby nurseries

Take Carmen* for example. The 32-year-old woman loved growing up sans siblings and would highly recommend it.

“In my opinion, children without siblings are higher achievers because they’re exposed to increased parental scrutiny,” she told Aquarius magazine. “When the spotlight is on you, and only you, you pull your socks up that bit higher.”

In his book, “Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families,” author Bill McKibben reveals that only children also score higher when it comes to making friends, adjusting to new environments, self-control and interpersonal skills.

Amelia*, 46, is one of four siblings and mother of four children, believes in the benefits from growing up with a sister or brother at home.

“Growing up in a big family, there were times I would quite happily have swapped all my siblings for the chance to have my own bedroom,” she told Aquarius magazine. “But as adults, they are my go-to people – a phenomenon researchers at Ohio State University call the ‘hour glass effect of siblings.’ meaning how we grow apart and then grow back together in later years.”

Tell us on Facebook: Do you think it's fair to have an only child? What are the positives and negatives of this family dynamic?

*Names changed to protect identity

Bing: How much does it cost to raise a child?

More from Family Room:
Teen mom denied right to breast feed
Toddler death raises concern over car seat rules
Violent video games and child aggression

Subscribe to The Family Room

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest.

Readers: Calling all mom bloggers – we’re looking for fresh voices on MSN Living. Email us your samples and contact info!

Photo: Single child families / Sonntag/Getty Images

99Comments
Mar 12, 2013 1:24PM
avatar
Why not end by asking, "It is fair to have more than one child?"  Unless you put your kid in a basement and never let him out until he's of age, then he does have outside interaction and will learn.  How is it selfish to have the time, money and energy to raise an individual rather than a group.
Mar 12, 2013 1:14PM
avatar
I'm sure the families that are having only one child are the resposible ones, not the ones that have kids in order to receive free handouts for the government.
Mar 12, 2013 1:10PM
avatar
It's about time. Save the economy and planet Earth. The days of family owned stores and farms are mostly gone. There is no logical reason to have so many kids. Also, stop giving tax breaks for multiple kid families. Why should there be tax breaks for famlies using more taxes? After 2 they need to start taking money back.
Mar 12, 2013 1:07PM
avatar
It's about time people started to have less kids!
Mar 12, 2013 12:58PM
avatar
It is really expensive raising kids.  When they go to college it is even worse.  My college daughter figures out her fafsa then we are expected to pay our contribution.  Music lessons and sports are expensive.  When they get sick in school, someone leaves work to go get them.  That Sandberg lady is getting a lot of criticism.  She is wealthy and can afford nannies and housekeepers.  Most middle class families are barely surviving.  i see the logic of one child but it is nice growing up with siblings.  When my parents passed away, my sister and i had each other to navigate all the financial and emotional stuff.  Doing that alone is difficult.  We helped each other.  She is my best friend.  Family always has your back.  If you base having kids on affording them no one will have them.  High school kids can get a job also.  It is much better to have siblings.  They learn to share and the whole world doesn't revolve around them. 
Mar 12, 2013 12:09PM
avatar
That one child has a much better chance of survival nowadays than children did in years past and mothers are more likely to have careers, not to mention more access to birth control and abortion.  
Mar 12, 2013 11:13AM
avatar
I don't care how many kids they have if the parents are married, the household is stable, and the child(ren) are provided for and looked after.
Mar 12, 2013 10:35AM
avatar
Raising a huge family of children 9 months apart ia only feasible to the obama voters. It means a bigger payout and more on the food stamp card. Also, an increase of the population with that same mindset "YOU owe me for my ignorance".
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads

  • Meredith Jenks

    7 hottest fall trends for back-to-school

    Get ready to hit the mall! Check out the hottest back-to-school trends—and get ready to make a major style statement this year.

  • Babies (Photo: Courtesy of Nameberry)

    The best and worst unusual baby names

    Unique, or downright strange?

  • Kevin Droniak (Photo: Instagram)

    The conversations between this teen and his grandma BFF are totally priceless

    This is Kevin Droniak and his grandma. They’re besties, they’re awesome and they’re YouTube stars.

  • Adorable after-school snacks

    Adorable after-school snacks based on kids' favorite characters

    It can be difficult to entice little ones to eat anything at all, let alone to devour a healthy plate. But feeding your kids nutritious snacks after school just got way easier, thanks to these adorably clever and cute snack ideas! For more smart and fun ways to get your kids to enjoy healthful and delicious foods, try one of these amazingly artsy lunch ideas.

  • Mom and daughter (Photo: Sabrina Dominguez)

    Mommy, thank you

    Through a tonsillectomy all the way to brain surgery, my mother deserves some recognition. She's my spine, my birthday shadow, my BFF, my thunder buddy, so Mommy, thank you.

  • White and black mothers (Photo: Keesha Beckford)

    Dear white moms

    My son needs me, as much as yours needs you. Sadly, my son needs me more. He needs someone to have his back, when it seems that the police, the men he'd wave to with excitement as a little boy, see him as a being worthy only of prison or death.

  • Little boys (Photo: Natasha Hanneman)

    5 things not to say when someone shares, 'we're adopting!'

    If you know someone who has adopted and have made some of these comments, don't fret... now you know!

  • Little girl smiling (Photo: Handsfreemama.com)

    Children who shine from within

    "Because you shine from within," I said, touching my finger to her heart. "Not everybody sees it, but I do. I see it. And my job is to protect that light. So when people say mean comments that squelch that light, I want you to tell me. I will protect your light by listening and loving you, my brave, courageous, and unique little firefly."

  • Child sleeping (Photo: Jupiterimages via Getty Images)

    Pediatricians officially want high schools to start later

    Studies have shown that it helps, top education officials have recommended it, and now doctors are officially saying the same.

  • Child (Photo: Jenifer DeMattia)

    An apology letter to my second child

    I may have accidentally dropped you a few times, forgotten to document your first fart, let a little pee fly and dressed you like an idiot, but I have also loved you with every piece of me, and you will never hear an apology for that.

  • Cool school shoes for boys

    The coolest boys' shoes for the new school year

    Back-to-school shopping is still in full swing, and your little gents probably need some new kicks to round out their fall wardrobes (you already picked up some bold shoes for the little ladies in your life, right?).

  • Cheap back-to-school clothes for kids

    25 back-to-school pieces for $50 or less

    Not every kid is a fan of returning to the classroom, so parents try to ease the blow with a little back-to-school shopping.

Loading...
buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
follow us
follow us follow us on facebook follow us on pinterest follow us on twitter
family videos