Suburbanism, Cars, and Two-Kids Families

There is the popular explanation that women are having fewer children due to women’s liberation. Now that they can work as HR drones, social media experts, or PowerPoint princesses, they just no longer have the time to take care of children. Also, for them it is so much more fulfilling to go to an office, enjoy wine on tap in a Big Tech cafeteria, and complain about micro-agressions online than it is to change diapers. However, it could very well be that the root of the problem goes much further back and is much more difficult to fix than “taking women’s rights away”, which is obviously a completely unhinged statement.

A lot of people used to live in multi-generational homes. Before WWII, this was pretty normal, at least outside of cities. This means that you would find three generations under one roof, entailing that there was always somebody around who could watch the kids, if needed. Furthermore, women did not normally work, at least if it could be avoided, and kids also did not need to be chauffeured around to extracurriculars. I recall reading about the perceived problem of multi-generational homes in some elite publication. The big issue for them was that if a family owned their home then nothing would stop the men to quit working in the factory if they had earned enough money for whatever their time horizon was, and with several generations under one roof, they could also support each other. Thus, the war on the multi-generational home began, leading to the promotion of the nuclear family. As you know, the nuclear family is one of the targets of the current hateful woke zeitgeist. Give it a few decades, and anybody not living in a pod will be called Hitler reincarnate.

Within the nuclear family, even if the mother only works part-time, transportation can be a serious challenge in suburbia. Transporting two kids in one car is feasible. Yet, squeezing a third kid into your backseat can make live a lot more uncomfortable. Maybe this is not so much of an issue on a quick trip to the supermarket, but any longer journey, for which you may have to bring luggage, space can get a bit tight. Also, one woman watching three young children can be impossible. She only has two hands so the third kid may just run off and do something stupid. If she turns her attention to that kid, then one of the others may cause trouble.

We can probably safely assume that transporting two kids in one car is no issue most of the time. However, once there are three children, this will become a lot more difficult. In many situations, you will need a second car. This is certainly the case for longer trips. Yet, even if you want to dismiss this, squeezing a fourth kid into one car is clearly not feasible. The result is that, to use some popular business lingo, adding a third kid signifies a “step change”. Suddenly, logistics become much more challenging. It may even be the case that logistics are so difficult that the woman would have to stay at home or work part-time. If housing is expensive, then staying at home may not be an option anymore. I also would like to see a woman being able to control four poorly raised children. If parents do not know how to raise their kids, then large families are probably hell. Of course, this would have been a lot easier in a multi-family home where knowledge-sharing happened much more organically. Today, mothers go on YouTube to watch videos by random mothers on how to raise their children and we have yet to see if this is feasible.

The above are only my initial thoughts on this issue. However, it seems quite plausible that suburbanism is more to blame for the drop in the number of children than “women’s liberation”. This does not mean that the latter did not exacerbate the situation. Each would have cratered the birth rate all by itself, i.e. even without “women’s liberation” we would likely have similarly low birthrates. Together, suburbanism and wahmenism are overkill.

36 thoughts on “Suburbanism, Cars, and Two-Kids Families

  1. Aaron,
    “Today, mothers go on YouTube to watch videos by random mothers on how to raise their children and we have yet to see if this is feasible.”

    Have you ever thought about writing a book on raising a family?

    1. No, not really. I would need a lot more experience to be able to speak authoritatively on this topic.

  2. The bigger problem in our atomized society in the Western world is the breakdown of “knowledge-sharing” that happens in multigenerational households that prevents mothers from wasting time searching online for child-rearing answers, let alone reading Dr. Spock’s famous book in the last century, since the answers are already there on demand from women with real-world experience.

    Similarly, lack of positive male role models and structure are damaging young men (and eventually women) further. It is apparent that a home lacks a “man of the house” as a result of divorce or death when it appears disorganized and dilapidated as a result of women’s inability to handle regular practical matters associated with homeownership, except with regards to ornamentation.

    It’s similar to how remote work has broken down the organic “knowledge-sharing” occuring among colleagues over water cooler conversations, lunches, and even after-work drinks as opposed to unnatural ones conducted over video chats and emails. Also, social bonds occurred as a result of which daily interactions flowing naturally instead of impersonal telecommunications or occasional work events.

    Such a decline on “knowledge-sharing” is either resulting in damaged thinking caused by imbibing more junk online without any qualification or (even worse) seeking out forced interactions over Meetup groups and the like with more disconnected people.

    1. Regarding remote work, my view is that the modern corporate workplace is so toxic that I prefer not to spend time in an office. During my last trip to the office, I had to endure a black employee talking at length about his experience with racism in the country, of course while being completely oblivious to the fact that he was hired for a role he was not entirely qualified for seemingly primarily due to the color of his skin. I also very often hear women yap about feminism and discrimination. The worst is when they try to include you in their conversations.

      Also, dealing with female colleagues is a minefield. I much rather only speak to them via a video call than in person because the former completely takes away their power to dream up some bullshit and cause problems for you later. I have been in video calls in which female colleagues became quite emotional because they could not handle the feedback they were given. Now imagine doing this in an office, i.e. you have a woman walk out of a meeting room, tears running down her face. It takes just a bit of nudging for them to complain about “harassment” or “bullying”.

    2. I fully agree with Aaron here.

      My happiness improved massively with working from home. No wasting time commuting. I’m way more productive and not wasting my mental energy and time with dumb office politics. This additional free time and flexibility helps tremendously with family life. It also gives me the option to live a bit further from work and escape overpriced housing costs in cities.

      I don’t see that much “knowledge-sharing” occurring at the office. People mostly have an insane amount of “coffee breaks” to bitch and do office politics.

    3. Yeah, work politics is the worst. Absolute waste. Drives good people out.

    4. Regarding remote work, its a mixed bag really, but I tend to fall on the side that sees more negatives than positives. Certain individuals like yourselves may be personally disciplined and driven enough that you are more productive, but a vast majority of people wont, and need some kind of supervision.

      Depends a lot on what type of you you are doing as well, but a lot of jobs (especially managerial ones) are done better when you are on site and get a lot of contextual information, by observation, by informal talk, by chance, that you would not otherwise get through the highly constrained (and sanitized) online channels.

      Additionally, in person work allows you to network more effectively. I agree the modern office seems to be a social minefield, and I am happy that 80% of my work is in the construction sector, where I am usually surrounded by men pretty much 100% of the time.

    5. If I was surrounded by men almost all the time, I would not mind going to the office. However, this is not the reality in the tech industry, so remote work has a very clear positive effect. On a related note, it is often women who need to set up pointless meetings, and you cannot even get away from them when working remotely. You also cannot be direct with the typical woman as they normally cannot take any criticism. Men, in contrast, are a lot more easy going. More importantly, (Western) men are able to separate work from work relationships. You criticize some guy’s ideas and even if he disagrees he will most likely not think that you “hate” him and bitch about you behind your back.

    6. Thanks for the feedback. I just added a plug-in that makes it possible to edit your own comments. Please check and let me know if it does not work for you. I set a threshold of five minutes, which should be sufficient for fixing typos.

    7. I requested this plug-in as well a long time ago. Glad to see you’re able to implement it now,Aaron. Its working for me!

      if I may make an extra suggestion though,please add an option to delete a comment during this timespan for editing. I sometimes accidentally reply to the wrong comment thread,as you’ve noticed recently. This would definitely help out with that problem!

    8. Deleting comments is a bit tricky as this is an admin privilege. However, is this really a big problem? I have noticed this happening but it seems to be quite uncommon.

    9. Yarara: in my opinion you are right that it depends on the type of job and person.

      I think a related problem is that of bullshit jobs. If you have a bullshit job, then you need monitoring and on-site supervision. But if you have a job where your performance is visible, then supervision is not needed. This is the case of my job.

    10. Its not that big of a deal. I usually only end up doing it when I’m lacking in sleep (How to know you’re overtrained? 1 big red flag is when you eventually find your sleep quality suffering among other signs. I’m taking a week break from the gym right now),recounting the previous times.

      If you do eventually find a way to implement the option without complications,it would be appreciated. But no need to stress over it!

  3. I do think grandparents are important. The problems are:
    – grandparents are boomers. As if they will spend a lot of time caring about their grand children.
    – grandparents are more likely live in a different city
    – grandparents are older compared to the past. If you get children with 32 on average and your parents, too, then grandparents are 64 years when your kids are born. If you and your parents were 25, then they would be only 50.

  4. I don’t understand the suburbia criticism. You can have multi-generational households in suburbs. Or if grandparents are close neighbors, you could have something similar.

    And what’s the alternative? In cities fertility rates are much lower. In rural areas fertility rates are higher but kids often leave to cities due to the lack of jobs.

    Fertility rates have actually been much higher in western countries with lots of suburbs (uk, us, Australia, France, Ireland) compared to countries with less suburbs (Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, South Korea). The first group had almost healthy fertility rates until 2010. Then they plummeted for various reasons which are unrelated to suburbs IMO.

    1. Were the elevated fertility rates in the UK, US, France, and Ireland (not sure about Australia) not primarily due to immigration? I recall reading that it was the primary factor in France, which was almost humorous as it ran counter to the propaganda that “le French women” were popping out so many kids because of the high availability of “crèches” and tax breaks. Instead, the reality was that they had a lot of immigrants on welfare who had many more kids than the white French population, but pointing this out means that you were a meanie because a black family from Algeria is every bit as French as the historically French population.

    2. It was partly due to race but not only. in 2010, US TFR was 1.93. Non-Hispanic whites was 1.79. Meanwhile Germany was 1.39, Spain 1.37 and Austria 1.44.

      I couldn’t find stats on Ireland and UK quickly. But notice that in the 80s fertility rates were around 1.8 in the uk and above 2 in Ireland, while in Germany it was around 1.4. The UK and Ireland were pretty white in the 80s.

      Australia does have lots of immigrants. But I think the biggest immigrant groups are Asians, who don’t have high fertility rates.

      France has no reliable stats by race.

    3. Aaron: im not denying that non-Europeans have more kids than French. My point is that even the French in France have higher fertility than the Germans in Germany. If we look at the 80s, when immigration was low, France fertility was just below 2 while Germany was around 1.4. so suburbs does correlate with more kids. And I think it’s makes logical sense. Having kids in apartments is terrible so you will have less kids in apartments.

      Now suburbs do seem to correlate with higher immigration too. I don’t have a logical connection for that though. It’s not like the suburbs are pro immigration while cities are against. It’s rather the opposite.

    4. I see. I do not dispute the point of differential fertility between France and Germany. In France, immigrants were shoved into the suburbs to keep them out of the city, so there is no contradiction: support for immigration is highest among those who are not exposed to multiple daily doses of diversity.

    5. Cycle path: I think every western country is fucked. I don’t have statistics on Australia but I remember that the majority of migrants were European and far East Asians. I don’t think the percentage of Europeans + far East Asians is lower in Australia than in France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden

  5. Fertility rate is influenced by many factors, but a few stand out. Pushing women into higher education is one of the worst, because they waste the most valuable years of their fertility window getting a degree and starting on a career path.

    Leaving aside the questionable economic value of most degrees, even assuming a woman studies something actually useful like medicine, the economic return on such education will usually be lower because they tend to truncate their professional careers early in order to have children. In many cases (most?) both she and society would have been better off by skipping higher education and starting a family right away out of high school.

    In addition, having symbolically valuable pieces of paper called degrees makes a lot of women feel they have a higher status than men who dont, even if those men outearn them in monetary terms. Given inherent female tendency to hypergamy, it makes durable pairing up difficult. (Men, on the other hand, can also feel inadequate in relationships with a woman who has a supposedly higher educational achievement, which does not bode well for a healthy relationship)

    Lastly, the permanent push for more women into the job market mean that a labour capacity that used to be in reserve for unexpected situations in the family is no longer available. Plus increased inflation has eaten up most of the value a second breadwinner brings to the table, so everyone is working more but worse off for it. This is not conducive to having children either.

    1. Biological realities screw up a lot of things for sure.

      Interestingly enough, technological progress will remove these issues for women. What is that we might get to a point where women can have children later in life and have the same fertility in their 40 as their 20s…

      However, we are likely to get sex bots that are superior to 90% of women by then. So men won’t bother with most women.

      Feminists might say “well the women won’t care either, they’ll build careers for fulfilment and get sperm donors at 40″… But I think women need more than just sex and sperm from men. It will be a lot easier to create bots that meet men’s needs, than bots to meet women’s needs.

    2. The artificial womb would be serious competition for women. Also, it will probably be a while before we are able to extend the fertility window of women. All indications point towards the elites having the opposite goal. Pushing women into higher education and the workforce worked splendidly, and there is also evidence that the vaxx is negatively impacting female fertility as the spike protein seems to gather in the ovaries.

    3. “Interestingly enough, technological progress will remove these issues for women. What is that we might get to a point where women can have children later in life and have the same fertility in their 40 as their 20s…”

      – Eventually,prolonged youthful beauty (that’s a benefit to both sexes though) should come with that package,shouldn’t it?

      It won’t mean much though in the face of refined sexbots and VR waifus if they don’t fix their personality issues,like you’ve said.

    4. Yeah that’s my point. Eventually technology will reach a point where 40 year old women will have the fertility, skin radiance and looks of a 20year old.

      However, by that time sex bots will be just as good, without any of the cons of real life women. So…

    5. I’m personally hoping physical age-reversal happens within my lifetime. And not just because of looks. I was a geek couch potato throughout my entire life until my later 20’s. I’ve heard that youngsters can often train hard twice a day everyday and not get burnt out/overtrained. (albeit not indefinitely)

      As a result,I personally never got to experience that life period. I CAN train twice a day (Weight training earlier in the day,Combat Sports later in the day or evening) but it tends to leave me a wreck the next day. I’m much fitter than I’ve ever been in my life,my work capacity has improved quite considerably,but I still can’t train like how I described above,and I have to consider the reality that I probably can’t get there having started training at a later age,but maybe it would have been achievable for me had I gotten into all this as a child. Its a shame I was not raised in the supportive environment for it.

      Of course,as the cliche saying goes; “Better later than Never”. What I’ve achieved thus far in this realm ,though it may not sound very humble to say it this way,I certainly wouldn’t call “mediocre”. (Unless you compare me to professional athletes,but that goes without saying)

    6. @Alek

      I am a bit more skeptical that we will progress that far, given the ongoing collapse in institutional capacity in pretty much all advanced countries.

      We are in an era where plenty of supposed breakthroughs are little more than vaporware to attract investment funding, but later fail to live up to the hype.I will believe it when I see it, I suppose.

      Suppose you can reverse aging, how do you deal with declining ovum quality in females? A woman is born with all she is ever going to have, unless men who regenerate spermatozoa all the time, and their quality decays over the years. Thats why older mothers have a much higher rate of children with defects like Down Syndrome.

      Ps: testing edit function! Seems to work alright 🙂

    7. Suppose you can reverse aging, how do you deal with declining ovum quality in females? A woman is born with all she is ever going to have, unless men who regenerate spermatozoa all the time, and their quality decays over the years. Thats why older mothers have a much higher rate of children with defects like Down Syndrome.

      That’s what I mean though, the challenges aren’t equivalent in terms of difficulty. Sufficiently good sexbots are far easier than solving the main challenges for women.

    8. Eventually technology will reach a point where 40 year old women will have the fertility, skin radiance and looks of a 20year old.

      That’s based on nothing. It may happen, but it is also very likely will never happen. You are too optimistic

    9. “You are too optimistic”

      – To assume it will happen within our lifetimes? You might very well be right.

      I don’t think its that farfetched as a whole 100 or so years from now though.

    10. I have not looked into this, no time right now. But I imagine any age reversing therapies will rely in some form or another on the capacity of cells to regenerate?

      If thats the case, see a hard time ahead implementing that with ovoa and neurons, to begin with.

      There have been quite a few claims regarding gut bacteria transplants and rejuvenation in recent years, that I dont know how credible they are.

      Again, I will believe it when I see it.

    11. As maou pointed out, I wasn’t speaking within the context our lifetimes. I’m having a more philosophical discussion. Like in terms of human evolution and what the future holds for the gender.

      Whatever the timeframes are (doesn’t matter if its 100 or 10,000 years away), my only point is that we’ll achieve sexbots way sooner than 40 year old women get science to help them. Make sense?

      I’m just saying the timeframe for one (sexbots) is much sooner than for the other ones… whatever those timeframes end up being, whether it is 50, 100, or 50,000 years.

    12. my only point is that we’ll achieve sexbots way sooner than 40 year old women get science to help them

      I agree with this statement.

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