Cost-of-living crisis means more Canadians are putting parenthood on pause
The only way we can have children now is if ‘we win the lottery,’ says Vancouver resident
For 29-year-old Asia Ruuhala-Guzman, there's only one way she and her partner can afford to have kids any time soon.
"We win the lottery and we just have all this income and all this money at our disposal to afford a bigger place, to afford daycare and all of the things," she told The Current.
Ruuhala-Guzman said she and her partner, also 29, want to have children and feel ready to raise kids. They make a combined $180,000 per year, which the couple acknowledges is a respectable household income.
But the pair resides in Vancouver, one of the most expensive cities in Canada. They're currently renting a one-bedroom apartment for $2,700 a month. And if they welcome a child into their lives now, Ruuhala-Guzman says they'll need to rent a bigger home that'll likely cost between $3,500 and $4,000 per month.
She said those additional costs, coupled with increasing expenses for daycare, food and clothes, make raising kids feel "very tough" — so they're holding off for now.
"All this stuff costs money, So, it's not just going to come out of thin air," she said.
It's a difficult decision to make, and it's one many young Canadian couples are having to face.
Research from Statistics Canada shows that, in 2022, 38 per cent of young adults ages 20 to 29 didn't think they could afford to have a child in the next three years; 32 per cent did not believe they would have access to suitable housing to start a family in that time frame.
This translated into Canadians having fewer babies than any other year since 2005. Just 351,679 babies were born in Canada in 2022, the latest year in the dataset.
"I think it's a much more complicated decision-making process for young Canadians now than it has been in the past," said Karen Lawson, head of the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Psychology and Health Studies.
"The financial costs are higher. The perceived rewards may be fewer. Parenting itself has changed, become more intensive and all consuming."