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Question Of The Day

Should There Be a Cap On How Many Children We Can Have?

"There shouldn’t be a cap, because of human rights."

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Our planet is getting kind of cramped. There are now over seven billion people occupying Earth, and – despite nature's attempts with the eartquakes and tsunamis it keeps throwing at us – that number keeps increasing.

David Attenborough recently claimed that "things are going to get worse" if people keep having large families. The only country doing anything about that at the moment is China, and we've all seen how that's worked out. That said, maybe there are people out there who don't mind lives being ruined as long as they've still got access to all the Wotsits and Carling they could ever want. I wanted to find out for sure, so I went to ask some people a question: Should there be a cap on how many children we have?


Emma: I don’t think so. As long as there’s enough of everything for everyone to survive, anyway. We don’t have as many people as China, obviously, but if it was to get to that, then there should be a serious restraint on things.

But should we let it get that far?
Hmm, I guess it [a cap] wouldn’t do any harm. I would probably be more prone to say that, at the moment, there are a lot of people coming into our country who depend on the resources that we have. That's a bigger problem that should be addressed first. So families coming from far-away countries, especially in countries where their religious and cultural beliefs are that big families are a sign of wealth and prosperity, have children who grow up in our society with resources that the tax-payers pay for.

So, should people who move to Britain from abroad have a cap on how many children they are allowed to have?
Yeah, I think that would be a better idea. I’m not in any way racist, but I believe you reap what you sow. Those who contribute to something should be the first ones to receive the rewards of that. The people who come into the country should then have their share of it.

Simon: There shouldn’t be a cap, because of human rights. I live in Surrey and one seems more than enough. But maybe pose that question to my girlfriend, who wants three kids. So I’m going to part of the problem, begrudgingly.


Ash: I don’t think there should be a law. It should be a social thing that having too many children is damaging our society – people should know that we’re not able to sustain ourselves effectively. I think there should be a slight cap, maybe two children, but not one child per family.  That’s what China did and look how that’s turning out – people are killing their daughters and we can’t have anything like that in this society.


Abdus: From a personal perspective, I think it depends on your situation. I don’t think anyone should be deprived of having children if they can afford to raise them in an appropriate manner. I think, in a deprived area or country, potentially there should be limits. If there are people starving there, with no food and water, it doesn’t make sense for them to expand the population. It depends where you live and what your situation is.

Matthew: I don’t agree with it. There are good reasons for it, but you have to understand that there are a lot of people who don’t and can’t have any children at all. So if someone has four children, they’re put up for adoption, then people who can’t have children can adopt.

So what can we do about the rising population of the world and the decreasing natural resources to support that population?
I think that people who reach a certain age should have the snip. Once you reach 35, you should have the snip, male and female. Because once you reach a certain age, more complications can happen.

Moran: It’s a question of liberty. When you start proposing things like that, we get into very murky water. Putting a legal cap on how many kids people can have could start a whole load of other issues. We should have a solution to our resource problems, because I think we’re hiding from it. I can see that we’re overpopulated, but I don’t think that [a cap] is the solution. I think that people are having fewer children now anyway, especially in the Western world.

How do you think we should tackle our resources issues?
Well, people are living longer now – that’s another thing. There are so many different areas that affect it. People need to see the bigger picture; it’s a massive, massive thing.

Previously - What's the Most Important Thing You've Ever Lost?