For most parents, raising children is an immensely rewarding experience. With each child comes new traits, emotions, connections, interests, hobbies, and challenges.
After the first few months of infancy are over, baby fever runs rampant, and you may be inclined to add another child to the mix.
How many children is too many? There is no limit on how many children a person or couple can have. Several factors, such as personal beliefs, physical health, and financial capability, play a role in deciding how many children to have. The main concern is ensuring that each child’s emotional, physical, and social needs are met.
Keep reading to learn more about large families, how they work, and where they compromise. Doing so will assist you in making the decision that aligns with your values and is best for your family.
Is There a “Right” Amount of Children?
There is no “golden” number when it comes to the number of children a person or couple chooses to have. The number of children in a family should be chosen with careful consideration specific to that family’s circumstances.
Factors That Contribute to Popular Opinions
There are many conflicting opinions on what an acceptable number of children is. We’ve compiled a brief list of the most influential factors.
1. Religious Beliefs
Reproduction has symbolic and spiritual significance in most major world religions. Additionally, the theological encouragement of reproduction ensures viability for religious traditions.
Studies from the Pew Research Institute have shown that religious families tend to have more children on average than secular ones. Leading this statistic are Mormons who birth an average of 3.4 children.
2. Financial Status
Statistics show that lower income is associated with higher birth rates. This can be attributed to a lack of affordable healthcare resources and available sexual education.
Despite the valid underlying causes, there is an overwhelming negative social connotation regarding large low-income families.
Many believe that being financially capable of caring for your children without assistance should be the standard for low-income families bearing children.
3. Single or Married Mother
There is nothing wrong with being a single mother whether by choice or by circumstance, but motherhood is a demanding job that requires balancing a heavy load of responsibility.
Choosing how many kids to have as a single parent rests on the mother’s capability to balance her own life and the lives of her children without daily assistance in the home.
4. Ability To Give Each Child Enough Attention
Children require ample time and attention through every stage of life. Each age brings about different developmental needs.
So, having enough time to provide and care for those needs while simultaneously working and maintaining a stable home environment is important.
Kids will struggle if they feel they do not receive enough time or attention from their parents. The more children in the home, the more a parent’s attention is divided.
5. Health and Age of Parents
Many people consider their age and health to ensure the best future for current and potential children. This is especially true in cases where a woman has endured multiple pregnancies and births already.
Research shows that having multiple children in succession can negatively impact maternal health. In addition, birth defects and pregnancy complications increase with maternal age.
Having children at an older-than-average age has its advantages and pitfalls as well. For example, older parents are typically more financially stable, but they physically struggle to keep up with their children.
6. Support Network
Raising a family takes a village. Having a support network for emotional, physical, and sometimes financial help is crucial for parents. The more children involved in a family, the more likely parents are to be pressed for time and resources.
A good support system allows kids a place to turn to when their parents emotionally or physically burn out. Not having that assistance means that parents need to be capable of carrying the mental and physical load alone.
7. Environmental Sustainability
There is a higher demand for natural resources than what the planet can provide. Earth is at the mercy of unsustainable population growth. Due to this, many couples are choosing to have fewer children.
While these efforts have proven successful in hindering population growth, the problem remains since life expectancy is increasing.
Average Number of Kids Per Family
The birth rate has steadily declined, with the exception of the Baby Boom, since the 1800s. Back then, the average number of children born per woman was seven. Today, the fertility rate averages 1.7 children born per woman.
What Is the Happiest Family Size?
Studies have shown conflicting conclusions regarding the number of children compared to overall family happiness. One study deduced that having two girls was the happiest family dynamic, another indicated that parents preferred having three or more children.
These results indicate that happiness is not associated with the number of children but the circumstances in which those families live and exist.
Advantages of Having a Big Family
There are many benefits for both parents and children in a large family.
- Children display closer long-lasting sibling relationships.
- Younger children show advanced development from observing older children.
- Kids learn valuable skills like compassion, sharing, patience, and responsibility.
- Middle children are not as lonely in family dynamics of four or more.
Disadvantages of Having a Big Family
While having a full home can be a blessing, there are disadvantages to having a big family.
- Children have less individualized quality time and attention from parents.
- Financial resources are spread over a greater number of people.
- Could limit what your child is able to participate in.
- Could require compromising a parent’s well-being.
- Could reduce the selection of quality nutritional choices.
- Could restrict vacations and family outings.
- Cooking and cleaning become time-consuming activities.
- Children have less space, more responsibility, and little alone time.
How To Decide What’s Right for You and Your Family
Raising kids is one of those experiences you can’t fathom until you actually do it. That said, the decision of how many kids to have is an open-ended one. It’s reasonable to have an idea of what you want and allow that vision to change as your family grows.
Before deciding to have another child, make sure it’s the right decision for your family. Consider your age and health, financial and living situation, existing children, personal desires, and relationship status.
What Country Has the Highest Birth Rate?
According to the World Population Review, Nigeria holds the world’s highest birth rate. In 2021, the average birth rate in Nigeria was 47.28 births per 1,000 people. This is more than double the global average in the same year.
What’s the Largest Number of Babies Born at Once?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, nine babies is the largest group to be born at once and survive. This record is currently held by the Cisse Nontuplets who were born in May of 2021.
Is 4 Kids Too Many?
No! Four kids are not too many so long as the parents are able to physically, emotionally, and socially care for all children equally.
There is no definitive guideline regarding how many children you should have. However, there are several important factors to consider.
Understanding how adding a child to the equation will impact your finances, family dynamic, relationships, and overall well-being is a vital component of this decision.
Charley is a mother of three with a passion for raising good humans. With her children in tow, she studies English and has made a career creating content about motherhood. In her free time, she enjoys traveling within the states to kayak, camp, and hike.