I have always wondered what the ultimate family size is or should be. Various definitions and descriptions sent me deeper adrift from what I wished to find out about the acceptable family size. I do not have to expound on what really makes a family simply because I love freedom and so is my audience. The bit is yours to define. Besides, I do not intend to engage on various types of families-that is extended or nuclear. However, I will address-or better put- discuss the size aspect in your already conceived definition of a family by composition.
Family: The unit of Continuity and Prosperity: What lies therein?
Allow me to chip in something more fundamental for the purpose of direction in our engagement. Let us say that a family is the basic unit of a society that has harbored the human race for as long as its existence. We are not just saying but sociologists will agree with the statement above.
The question: how should this societal unit be-(large or small?), is fundamental. Well, we need to make a step further by digging deeper on what is the ultimate size of a family. It is also important to note that family units combine to make up a society-which counts in population and general socio-economic dynamics of a place.
There is need to also pose more questions: how does the family size affect other variables like population, economy and supply of human labor? The focus here should be outside the neighborhood that a group of people identified as a family occupy to a broad community, county, state or region.
What is the general global outlook of the Family and Population?
Traditionally, the general populace conceive the idea of a family depending on culture, exposure, societal norms among other factors. For instance, looking around our sphere, some regions value large families while others believe in raising fewer children. The family size and fertility rate are the two major factors that affect population of a society.
Research statistics indicate that Asia and Africa are home to nations that have recorded the highest fertility rates globally. The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs names the aforementioned nations in ascending order as follows: Nigeria, India, China as the top three. The UN agency points out that China and India are the world’s most populous nations in the 2017 projections with 1.4 and 1.3 billion people respectively. The two Asian nations are the indisputable champions of fertility as they have the highest populations.
Nevertheless, these are just mere statistics! Do they count?
Zeroing in small family vs large family dynamics
Let us go back to the drawing board so that we can get the real image. Let us say a family (allow me to call it D) comprises of two adults A and B and an offspring C. In short, this family has two adults and one minor. The total population in this household is three.
From a commercial point of view, an entrepreneur who operates a food store in the family’s neighborhood is concerned with a large consumer population for their business to make profit. Therefore, if he relies exclusively on family D, (remember what we named our family) then it will take him a couple of days and months if not years to clear their stock. Better still, he needs several such families as D to make a good market for the goods he sells- lets pick a figure of 1000 with equal income and purchasing power.
On a different scenario, we have contrasting setup. Another family-(let us call it Z) comprises of two adults X and Y and several children (the alphabets cannot accommodate them all, so let’s not name them). The total population in this household is above twenty. If we assume that family Z has the same purchasing power and income ratio as family D, then it means the latter will spend more money at the store in purchases for the family.
In other words, the store operator will need to restock frequently and his profits will be greater. If we put into play, the possibility of presence of similar families like Z then this will sound like a potential investment center. This is because there is a high demand for goods and services to cater for the large population within this area. The storekeeper will soon expand the store since the population will grow as the young adults mature and start their own households.
What would happen if the two families above were different? Assuming that the two (Z and D) above, are poor and have below average purchasing power and earn a low income that limits their purchases to mere basics. What would happen to the food store?
Definitely, the storekeeper would have cheap labor from the families around him but few sales and more losses if he does not adjust to the economic situation.
In the case of the smaller family unit, (that is D), the parents can fend for the only dependent through engaging in wage labor among other blue color jobs. In contrast, family Z, owing to its large size-will faces more hardships. The children will have little for consumption since their parents have low purchasing power.
This will force the elder children to look for revenue generating opportunities to assist the parents in getting more income or to run their independent lives. In the end, some children will miss social services like education but acquire social skills like hard work and perseverance. Besides, they will become more innovative as they struggle to survive hard economic times.
The story may take different turns but the overriding factor is the economic status of a region where one resides. Sometimes, small families may work depending on several factors. However, other factors may favor large families. Either way, what may work in one region may fail in another.
Therefore, family management remains a key topic for research before one makes a final decision whether bigger is better of still small family is smarter. In conclusion, responsible parenting should take precedence on cultural or religious issues affecting the size of a family.
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