Having pets instead of kids should be considered a psychiatric disorder

Three-fourths of Americans in their thirties own dogs (for the purposes of this study, all adults 37 years old and younger were considered “millennials”), and half own cats. When you compare them with the population in general, only half of whom own dogs and just over a third of whom own cats, the surge is obvious.

Writing at Forbes, Erin Lowry blames the perceived costs for this shortfall of children. As pricey as dogs can be if you treat them the way this Manhattanite does (she buys her dog expensive food, paw cleaning, surgery, pet-sitting, and pays to fly it places), her $5,000 in receipts are still nowhere near the reported sticker price of a kid.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in 2013 that the average annual cost of raising a child in a two-parent home runs somewhere between $12,800 and $14,970, and much more if you live in a major city. That’s a quarter of a million dollars before each child reaches adulthood, which doesn’t include college or post-adulthood basement-dwelling. If you have three kids and a single writer’s income like I do, that should make you weak at the knees.

But of course, it’s not true, because as James Breakwell points out, fathers like he and I will never see that much money, yet our kids are still alive. Texas A&M University finance professor H. Swint Friday points out that the USDA numbers are “misleading to the point of outrageous,” and concocted largely based on “political objectives.”