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Fewer Germans consider children essential part of life
Photo: DPA

Fewer Germans consider children essential part of life

Published: 17 Feb 2011 17:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2011 17:10 GMT+01:00

Only 46 percent of childless women and men view children as an essential part of life, the survey for Eltern magazine found.

“Having children is no longer a matter of course in Germany,” said Eltern editor Marie-Luise Lewicki.

Attempting to uncover the reasons behind Germany’s anaemic birth rate of 1.38 children per mother, the magazine interviewed 1,012 childless women and men between the ages of 25 and 45.

Many Germans said the lack of family-friendly measures in the workplace discouraged them from having children, while a dearth of child care makes life with children more stressful than it already is.

“The desire to live without children has risen since the early 1990s,” said sociologist Kerstin Ruckdeschel of Wiesbaden’s Institute for Population Research.

Starting a family remains an attractive option, with two out of three people – 70 percent of men, 61 percent of women – saying they “definitely” or “possibly” want children.

Still, this desire for children hasn’t meant more births – for reasons based largely on Germans' professional and financial concerns.

The survey showed that 86 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 29 wanted a family eventually, but 79 percent of them want to first establish a solid financial base.

Many childless women and men said financial stability (63 percent) took precedence over having children, while 77 percent viewed their professional and family lives as incompatible.

Another 61 percent saw the failure of the German child-care system as reason enough to decide against having kids.

An unfulfilled love life played a factor for 44 percent of those surveyed, who said they had yet to find the right partner to have children with – although more men (50 percent) cite this as a reason than women (33 percent).

Changing expectations of parenthood also played a role in Germany's dire birth rate.

Women often exalted the idea of the “Latte-Macchiato Mother” who “achieves everything and also manages to smile,” said Lewicki, who called on young people to see children not as a “project” or “lifestyle option” but rather as a normal feature of life.

But the difficulty of balancing professional and family life was the deciding factor for most would-be parents.

About 81 percent of survey participants believed society values professional success over family, while 79 percent said daily life brings enough stress without children.

Meanwhile, 74 percent were unwilling to modify their lifestyle for the sake of having children, while 47 percent believed the future is too uncertain to have children now.

Those surveyed in eastern Germany (72 percent) were more likely to want children than their peers in the west (66 percent), a fact Ruckdeschel attributed to the surplus of men living in eastern parts of the country.

Tuesday at a press conference in Berlin, Lewicki said it was incumbent on all of German society to help boost the country's birth rate.

“We can all do our part to see that the desire for a baby actually results in a baby,” she said. "Society should demonstrate to young parents that their children are needed to enrich an ageing population.”

The Eltern and Eltern Family magazines have launched an initiative entitled “Zum Glück: Familie!” (“Fortunately: Family!”) to help galvanize Germans considering having children.

DAPD/The Local/adn

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:21 February 17, 2011 by auniquecorn
They don´t know what their missing.
19:37 February 17, 2011 by auslanderus
Oh my god you want me to have children? that means I can't stay out all nite dancing, drinking, drugs. That also would mean I would have to move out of mom and dads and pay for an apartment and my car. No more 200€ pair of jeans or perfume. How can I live????
19:46 February 17, 2011 by Gretl
@auslanderus - Love it!

Seriously though, I have worked with German women who wanted to know how I could have 3 kids, work a full-time job while my husband was deployed. The answer is after-school care. My collegue's youngest daughter was the same as my youngest, but she could only work part-time due to the crazy school schedule, her mom being too old & forgetful to babysit, and no other after-school option. Why do kids have to go home for hot lunch served by their mothers? In order to increase the amount of children, you have to make it easier for working women. Kinder-geld to have women stay at home doesn't provide the means to maintain one's lifestyle (or just pay the rent).
20:48 February 17, 2011 by Bishnu
people are becoming too ambitious and emphasis only for their so-called careers, and this is the result ( demographic change ) that they are facing. Hey you must know that acheiving everything in life is just like a day-dream, so decide what values for you the most; the family or so-called career? But make sure of one thing, the ultimate happiness is likely to get more from the family life than to the socalled success !
21:50 February 17, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
I have 2 kids, and I love them and having that experience, but I am definitely 'pro-choice'. If people don't want kids then leave them alone: it does not mean they are selfish and/or career obsessed (I am sure plenty of parents *do* match that description though !).
22:49 February 17, 2011 by Jannik
The problem is caused by feminism.

Women who are brainwashed into giving priority to their prof. careers, while abandoning childbearing.

This culturalmarxist ideological movement will spell disaster for the west, if there is not a change in additudes.The radical hippie socialists have finally almost succeded in destroying Europe.

A shrinking european population invaded by fertile muslims. The outcome will almost certainly end in war!
23:43 February 17, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, there are certain responsibilities that comes with being a human. Obviously humanity would become extinct, if people were to stop having babies. Therefore, reproduction is simply an essential part of life. Perhaps it's a harsh reality, but the fact is, both men and women are literally obligated.

Government and individuals, must create an envoronment that supports healthy child bearing.

As with many other Western nations, Germany has become too liberal. Real consevative values have been tossed out the window. If such nations don't learn the meaning of Real Conservatism, then there simply won't be a future for them.

If this world does come to an end, then without even a shred of doubt, Liberlism, the "Deceptive Disease", will be the reason.
01:43 February 18, 2011 by coyote3000
I hardly think humans are on the brink of extinction or that there is any danger that we will become extinct any time soon (Unless of course we destroy ourselves/our food supply/habitat/etc). Afterall, there are ONLY 6 BILLION of us on the planet, which is a good indication that we have been breeding a lot. I read somewhere that if everyone was to live the way we do in the western world we would need 3 Earths to support that. I think saying that my purpose is to impregnate someone and put another a child on the Earth is one of the most stupid and most illogical things I have ever heard. And as I am a gay man, I think I won't be fulfilling this 'responibility' in the near future either. Don't get me wrong, I respect people's decisions to have children, or to adopt, but I am also in favour of attracting young talent to the work force in nations with ageing populations.
02:00 February 18, 2011 by Larry Thrash
So sad that more people are become so selfish.
03:43 February 18, 2011 by msbeautifool
To think that there are other nations which have a high birth rate, I would not worry about human extinction at all.

Child rearing is a difficult task and expensive which to me are the main reason why these couples prefer not to have kids. Otherwise, many would have done it and build their own family. More likely, they are also afraid to take this responsibility which would get them out of their comfort zones.

I would like to have my own kids bec I wanted to experience how and what it feels to be a parent and to have a baby with my future husband, out of love of course. I know it would surely feel good as a woman. BUT to have a baby, not soon :p

Indeed, we are entitled to our own decision and how we want to live our life. It is just a matter of realization if these people would feel ready to have their own kids or not in the future.

Lastly, hello everyone.
04:17 February 18, 2011 by danceswithgoats
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:29 February 18, 2011 by twisted
While the idea doesn't bother me, if Germans (who are mostly of the Christian persuasion) continue along the path of fewer and fewer children, then pretty soon Germany will become a Muslim state as there seems to be an abundance of non-Christian children being born in Germany. Frankly, religion means nothing to me so Christian, Muslim, Hindi, etc., all the same to me, but if Germans want to retain the predominance of Christianity, they better do something about it.
11:26 February 18, 2011 by ado1000
the problem is Germans are emotionally retarded. If you go into a bar, men wont go and say hello to a pretty girl sitting by herself. And a girl will completely ignore any man that comes up to talk to her.

They just don't know how to start a relationship, and then when they are in one, they don't know how to maintain it.

It is sad really
11:31 February 18, 2011 by mehta_p
SYSTEM....

now germans MUST think to have an INSTITUTE where they can give teaching and understanding to those german couples, singles who are against to have children.

goverment has taken the issue of integration very seriously and has started integration-courses.

I suppose the issue of reducing population of germans is more serious than integration (many foreigners who holds german passport doesn't much care abt germany still..anyways) and government must create understanding to them.
12:13 February 18, 2011 by LecteurX
Why, oh WHY do we have to suffer vacuous conservative propaganda on every article on any topic here? Why can't they remove their political lenses for a while, and, for a change, once in their lives, think and use factual information rather than belch their usual hate-mongering?

Women in ALL Nordic countries have many more kids than German women, now come and tell me these are more "conservative" societies, or any less "liberal" than Germany is. Iceland tops the list with more than 2 kids per woman. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, all those pesky "feministic" countries, have healthy families. France, another heavily "socialist" country, fares quite well too. All of this because in these countries, which don't have that much in common (well, France vs. Nordic countries anyway), women are not told to choose between working and having babies, they can have both!

On the other hand, in countries that are sociologically much more conservative and traditionalist, such as Poland, Italy or the Balkan countries, women have fewer kids. Even Bosnia, with 40% muslims, has fewer babies. Still a consequence of evil liberalism, huh?

Please, Jannik and Logic Guy (love the irony of this moniker), what is "Real Conservatism" in your view, Kinder, Küche, Kirche or something like that? It has been tried in the past...

I'm still looking for a learned, intelligent conservative to talk to, not one who will spout plainly false facts and propaganda all over the place. Still looking.
12:36 February 18, 2011 by marimay
The super short haircuts probably don't help.
13:35 February 18, 2011 by loz_adele
@ado1000: haha so true

"So sad that more people are become so selfish. " oh do me a favor. Why does choosing not to have children make a woman selfish? When women choose not to have children because they do not have the money or the time then I would argue that makes them pretty damn responsible. And it's not always a case of choosing a career over children, some women simply don't want them. Maybe they don't feel they are suited to becoming a mother. Maybe they find children loud, snotty, annoying and expensive. And so what if they do?? Plenty of men decide to remain bachelors and I don't hear anyone blathering on all holier than thou about how selfish they all are and how sad it is that society has conditioned them to choose their career over having a family blah blah blah. It's BS.
14:19 February 18, 2011 by fritzwiz
Little wonder as so many of the "going out in Germany" gallery photos show women kissing each other. Looking at the images it would seem that a large percentage of German women are lesbians.

fritzwiz
14:35 February 18, 2011 by tallady
Logic guy ,I do not believe the problem is the result of liberalism,,It is more that people now have a choice,and in many cases a good standard of living and do not want to compromise it with children.

I believe in choice, I had my children because I wanted them,and I believe they have enriched my life.
15:02 February 18, 2011 by Mikokami
Its 2011, life has become complicated and egocentric in germany. It a sad "the last one is bitten by the dogs."-mentality, running 'alone' thorugh your fast pacing life aint easy at all as a german, and if you aren't rich, noble or famous, havin a partner, or children will let you fall behind, where the dogs lurk. Without any real dependencies in our western world today, german women and men have lost trust, not only sometimes in their self, but in one another.
15:35 February 18, 2011 by Surferjoe
People who don't have kids miss the best part, the reason we're here. I feel sorry for childless folks, they miss the whole point of life.
17:37 February 18, 2011 by Thekla
I had my kids in the 90's and none of my friends did. I used to say that Germans were just too stupid to have kids....they leave it to the foreigners...and then complain about Germany not being 'German' anymore.

You can't have it both ways. Either Germans produce baby Germans or the foreigners produce baby foreigners.
17:43 February 18, 2011 by William Thirteen
i only wish the parents of some the commenters here had followed this trend.
20:26 February 18, 2011 by Wise Up!
Answer: Import more muslims. Any more doubts Germany will be an Islamic country soon?
23:28 February 18, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
It is good news to hear that in a severely over-populated world "more Germans are deciding children are not necessary to having a fulfilling life".

Indeed Germans have a much bigger carbon footprint than Africans or South Asians. Thus ¦quot;annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution¦quot; in units of ¦quot;tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year¦quot; (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 12 (GERMANY), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia¦#39;s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) (Google Climate Genocide).

Of course it is one thing for Germans to decide to have fewer children but quite another thing entirely for Germans to violently impose childlessness on 280,000 Afghan mothers each year (according to UNICEF 311,000 under-5 year old Afghan infants die each year in US Alliance - and Germany-occupied Afghanistan, 90% avoidably and due to US Alliance and German war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva Convention; post-invasion under-5 year old Afghan infant deaths now total 2.6 million).

Similarly, the PM of pro-war, pro-coal, pro-gas, anti-Planet, human rights abusing and US and Zionist lackey Apartheid Australia is fervently pro-Zionist, pro-US and pro-war Julia Gillard. PM Julia Gillard's childlessness is her own business and indeed admirable in a crowded world (species extinction rate 100-1,000 times greater than normal) but there is something peculiarly awful about a childless, pro-war, neocon PM Julia Gillard helping Germany and the US Alliance to violently impose childlessness on 0.3 million Afghan mothers each year.
00:42 February 19, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, as usual, many of you misunderstood what I was saying.

The main problem with humans, is that they have never possessed the intelligence necessary to live successfully in this particular world.

Logic is the only thing that is perfect. It is the opposite of human character. Therefore, it's going to take an unprecedented influence to save Germany and the rest of this world.
04:06 February 19, 2011 by Curmudgeon
Germany is now reaping the benefits of the Morgenthau Plan. Those that control the political process have completed their brainwashing of Germans and will reach their goal of the elimination of Germans as was advocated in the 1938 book "Germany Must Perish".

Wake up Germany, your puppet government is illegitimate and has been judged so by your own courts. Throw off the yoke of your "guilt" for 2 World Wars and fight for your lives. You have been lied to and are forbidden by your occupied government to study your own history. Your race has been scheduled for elimination because Germany stood in the way of the New World Order.
12:59 February 19, 2011 by brnskin2010
I think that it is a blessing ....not to have kids in this day and age considering the way the government is being run. I have 3 grown children and it has been a struggle and a burden for most of my young life....people tend to believe that it's a blessing when a child is born into this world....but GOD says the opposite..he says that it's a sad day......question:....WHY would anyone want to bring a child into this world with all this madness, perverts, molestion etc.......My hat off to the germans for their wisdon...and if I could change things in my life....I would be childless....just saying...
13:04 February 19, 2011 by kalyaja
I don't know where the Eltern magazine did the survey. But for sure not around or in my middle class neighborhood in Munich West. Just every block or street younger families move in new houses or newly built apartments with small kids or babies.

We have lots of (white) kids roaming the streets here.
15:30 February 19, 2011 by hanskarl
@brnskin2010 "people tend to believe that it's a blessing when a child is born into this world....but GOD says the opposite..he says that it's a sad day....."

As I recall in not trying to be over religious here but God says children are his heritage and a reward....... That is found in Ps 127. Had to hunt it down.

Perhaps the situation in Germany is the same as in other industrialsed nations where when you create a vacuum something (somebody) must fill it. End result is the dilemma we witness today.
20:02 February 19, 2011 by risingred
I find it very ironic when I tell someone I don't want a child, and they say I must, and that I am selfish. Aren't you the selfish one?

Believe it or not, you do not have to have children. There is no law. There is no mandate. I certainly am not going to blindly follow your idiotic religious dogma on the subject. I do not want children. My wife does not want children. I do not need them, and I never will.

Deal with it.

What is even more funny, to me, is that the entire reason they seem to be pushing this procreation agenda is due to economical concerns. You know what? For every reason that you give me for wanting or "needing" to have a child, I can give you two for why you shouldn't. Wake up.
22:41 February 19, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, before this Local article goes away, I will take a moment and define some very, very important things.

Liberalism is a Spiritual Disease. It is very deceptive, in that it inspires humans to do things they believe are positive, when in reality they are actually negative.

The main problem with Liberlism, is that it prevents people from "Doing as they should."

Real Conservatism is a reflection of logic.

Earth's physiology, the change from day into night, the transition from one weather season to another and time itself, are all the result of highly efficient and conservative system.

I'm sure all of you agree, that humans have never lived efficiently and conservatively, according to the facts described above.

With all of the unprecedented problems in this world today,

isn't it time for humans to take on "The Psychology of the Universe?"
12:04 February 20, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
Logic Guy, here is some logic -- when the human species dies out, ergo, so too will Liberalism. Ergo, now more worries! How's this for logic?
14:19 February 20, 2011 by Bishopbayern
why have children if you can't afford them or have time for them, those are the really selfish people not those who decide against having them.
20:40 February 21, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, you are correct OkieinBerlin.

If humanity were to become extinct, then Liberalism will most certainly be the cause.

Perfection can only be achieved through logic.
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