Three is the new two and four is the new three

Three is the new two and four is the new three

The Sunday Globe Magazine notices a hip, new trend among the wealthy, liberal, white suburbanites: Having more than two kids, or as the article puts its, “three is the new two.” Mind you, they can’t get away from the slightly disapproving tone. After all, they sniff, children of larger families are decidedly more blue-collar. As if what’s most important in life is what schools you go to and what jobs you have, rather than the love of a big family. What child of a big family would trade in their brothers and sisters for more material goods? What only child wouldn’t trade it all for a brother or sister to bond with?

After three decades of declining birthrates, oversize families should be gone by now. For reasons of finance or ecology or lifestyle or just plain fatigue, smaller families represent a more prudent path for most people. That path would logically be favored by the many parents today who begin obsessing about their children’s college prospects while videotaping their first halting steps across their hardwood floor. After all, researchers have found that children from larger families generally don’t go as far academically as those from smaller ones.

But prudence can be overrated. National birth statistics show a small but steady uptick in the number of American women having three children in recent years, leading parents and pediatricians alike to talk about how “three is the new two.”

Of course, you might be tempted to say that the statistics could be coming from all those poor immigrant families that haven’t learned the ways of their more prosperous native-born neighbors. Au contraire.

That old-time anti-child Blue State attitude

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Update: One of the women interviewed for the article comments on this blog… Check out the update after jump.

  • I’m sure the author’s second and third children will be pleased to read that article later.

    A good meditation to chew on. At least some in our generation are having children, for whatever reason.

  • “In two weeks, the Sunday Globe magazine will no doubt publish lots of letters decrying the selfishness of these families, they’re using up the resources of the planet, etc.”

    I hope not. Considering demographic realities, these “extra” young’uns are the ones who will really be carrying the weight for paying for Social Security, the prescription drug benefit, etc., when whiny 0-1-2-child baby boomers are in their 70s and 80s. Guess the Globe never publishes stories on that, though, either.

    I used to think 5 or 6 kids was a lot, but that was before I married into a family with *16* – who, BTW, all had a good Catholic school education and then put themselves through university, including 2 Ph.D.‘s and 4 master’s degrees. They didn’t have a lot of “stuff” growing up, but they all turned out okay, and I can’t imagine one of my brothers- or sisters-in-law not existing.