Letters to the Editor: Middle class couples aren’t having kids. Blame American politics and inequality

 A man and woman pet their cat Sofie near a window with blinds.
Husband and wife Xavier Coelho-Kostolny and Beccy Quinn, with their cat Sofie at their Burbank home, have decided not to have children.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Marisa Gerber’s article on income and childbearing deserves praise. What largely remains overlooked, however, is the abject failure of America’s political elite to protect the country’s middle-class standard of living.

Economic insecurity gnaws at everyone but the very wealthy. Comfortable housing is priced in the stratosphere, as are decent healthcare, higher education and child care. Workers’ earning power has declined considerably over the last four decades, prompting longer hours on the job.

Many younger adults also weigh the morality of bringing children into a world devastated by global warming.


The Pew study finding mentioned in the article that most child-free adults “just don’t want to” have children should not surprise competent social scientists — we can’t expect respondents to take on our mandate to demystify human thought and behavior. I suspect that many of those respondents felt personally inadequate and thus reluctant to confront the issue head-on.

When these people realize they’re victims of our country’s pay-to-play politics and the resulting polarization in wealth, only then will they join the movement for genuine reform of our political economy.

Sam Coleman, Huntington Beach

The writer, a lecturer in Asian Studies at Cal State Long Beach, is author of the book “Family Planning in Japanese Society.”


To the editor: Your article on adults choosing to forego parenthood was terribly depressing. Unless parts of their stories were left out, the logic of the people quoted in your article highlights the increased attachment we have to comfort and disinclination to sacrifice.

Humans do hard things. Family life is both joyful and hard, but it’s the way we have cared for each other, tolerated each other and connected with each other from the dawn of time.


There is no ideal family size, whether it be one child or many, and there is no requirement that children be in eight different sports and play four musical instruments.

But if as a society enough people decide family life isn’t for them, we all will experience a great loss.

Karen Cuni Tang, Torrance


To the editor: I was glad to see a prominent article giving voice to those who choose to be child-free.

However, falling birthrates were described as a negative trend because of economic concerns. Why not quote scientists or environmentalists who have different concerns or see the upside to this complex situation?

The title of this 2022 study in the journal Biological Conservation says it all: “Overpopulation is a major cause of biodiversity loss and smaller human populations are necessary to preserve what is left.”

In a March 2023 article in Scientific American, Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes approvingly quotes the Royal Society: “More people ‘has meant that ever more natural habitat is being used for agriculture, mining, industrial infrastructure and urban areas.’ ”


In a 2013 interview, David Attenborough said, “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.”

Zan Dubin, Santa Monica


To the editor: I enjoyed the piece about millennials not having children. As a baby boomer, I have suffered the slings and arrows of subsequent generations complaining how we ruined the world, so it is nice to hear from the next folks.

It is good that millennials have chosen to forsake parenting. Raising kids requires a total commitment of oneself, and their focus leaves little room for anything but them.

So, enjoy swimming with dolphins, jumping out of airplanes and posing with the bronze Fonz, as the couple you profiled has done. You will not worry about kids who puke on your expensive carpet, potty on your furniture or wake you up at night.


But you will miss watching the winning goal, the diploma being earned, a marriage and an endless list of moments that make parenting worth the effort.

Theodore Furlow, Medford, Ore.