My Say: Baby Boom Claim: A Simplistic View

Those who are saying there will be a baby boom because of the $1000 pay­ment of newborn babies are taking a simplistic view. Studies have shown that there can be
14 Aug 2018 10:46
My Say: Baby Boom Claim: A Simplistic View
Vaciseva Petersen served by Tanweer Ali WHILE getting her baby’s account opened with Bank South Pacific (BSP) through governments Parenthood Assistance Payment Programme. Photo: BSP

Those who are saying there will be a baby boom because of the $1000 pay­ment of newborn babies are taking a simplistic view.

Studies have shown that there can be multiple causes.

At any rate, a population increase is healthy for a country like ours where there is an abundance of land and natural resources.

What we need to do is to continue strength­ening our economy to cope with the added pressure of demographic changes.

A population increase will help broaden our economic base.

It means more consumption spending which would require more infrastructure development like housing, roads, bridges, water and electricity.

Modern trends

Modern trends show that Fijian families are getting smaller compared to the past.

They mirror international trends.

Economic considerations usually deter­mine the average size of families.

Can a couple afford to raise one or more children with their combined family in­come?

The $1000 will come in handy and defray some of the early costs, offering some mi­nor relief.

Those who have raised children up to adulthood would know that the cost of raising a child can run into several thou­sands of dollars.

It’s difficult to quantify an exact amount because it varies from family to family based on their socio-economic status and geographical location.

Suffice to say that if you live in the urban centres everything costs, from accommo­dation to food and utilities like water, elec­tricity and gas.

In the rural areas, where land is avail­able, families can live off the land.

Cash is only needed to pay for bare essen­tials.

Education and health

But the big item is education and health.

Today’s parents are blessed that Govern­ment has heavily subsidised education costs through free school fees and free school bus fares.

Basic health services is free by public-funded hospitals and health centres.

At tertiary level, students can get schol­arships through Toppers, student loans through TELS or become private students if their families can afford.

If they don’t stay in hostels, they live at home and go to lectures. Students only leave home after they graduate, secure a job, get married and start their own fami­lies.

So parents could be helping with their up­keep up to that point

While the Fijian cost of raising a child is expected to be lower than the cost in devel­oped countries, Bloomberg reported last year that for an American middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through the age of 17, the cost was US$233,610 (FJ$492,774).

The price jump was a three per cent in­crease from the previous year, with hous­ing taking up a bulk of the expense at 29 per cent of the cost.

Food took the second biggest expense at 18 per cent, according to the report.

The report, which tracked seven catego­ries of family spending, including hous­ing, transportation and clothing, helped court systems and government agencies determine the costs of child-support.

It did not track payments for college or financial contributions from non-parental sources, including government aid.

Labour and delivery

In the USA, the overall costs of labour and delivery vary from state to state.

Expenses for a delivery ranged from US$3000 (FJ$6327) to upward of US$37,000 (FJ$78,042) per child for a normal delivery and from US$8000 (FJ$16,874) to US$70,000 (FJ$147,648) if a C-section or special care was needed.

These costs were often a result of sepa­rate fees charged for each individual treat­ment. Other factors included hospital ownership, market competitiveness and geographical location.

In Australia, the cost of raising two children from birth to 21 years old is AUST$800,000 (FJ$1,227,025).

In New Zealand, the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years old is NZ$285,000, (FJ$395,218) or around NZ$16,000 (FJ$22,189) a year.

As the Fijian economy continues to grow and the standard of living rises, the cost of raising a child will increase in the same way it has happened in other countries.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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