Are there any studies analyzing how parents have/adopt children as the cost of having them is reduced? In particular, how many children would there be per say a thousand people if the cost were fully subsidized?

For some context, I am trying to understand how much the monetary cost of having children (cost of clothing, living space, food, etc) affects parents' desire for children.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe technically parents are suppliers of children :p $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1
    Commented May 18 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 yes, but I am interested on the demand side only right now $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ I like the question, but I think assuming parents are aware of most of the costs of raising a child is very questionable. A lot of these things are overpriced, because as a parent, you have less time to shop around, your demand becomes less elastic. Also, the total cost would be far from uniform, as some people expect to send their children to Harvard, while some do not. I guess you could design a survey to measure exactly this "Q1: Estimate the cost of raising a child until age 18/25." "Q2: are you planning to have children? If yes, how many?" "Q3: What is your current yearly income?" $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented May 18 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ Ah okay. Then the answer is no, because this has never happened (e.g. no state provides you with a full-time nanny), so there is no data on it, hence no associated research. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented May 18 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ No. A study that measures the number of children you intend to have and your percieved cost is possible. I guess so is a study that asks you how many children would you want to have if all costs were covered by the state, but I would hesitate to trust the results of this second study, because people are not very good at guessing how they would react in very hypothetical situations. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented May 18 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


There are studies of this type:


I think you're maybe asking for something slightly stronger (i.e more structure to the empirical model they estimate), and I'm not sure that that would be wise, since I think it's very difficult to characterise the model that would-be parents behave according to when making fertility decisions.


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