26 January 2010

Large Family - Small Footprint

There has been much talk recently about the environmental impact of large families and it is pretty much all a load of rubbish.
Large families are much more efficient than a 4 person family and even more efficient than many of the broken family and family like structures around us.  Let us look at the numbers.
Housing:  Our house looks big when compared to a typical 3 bedroom house as we have 4 bedrooms plus a study and large dining room and lounge room.  Attached is a 2 room "granny" flat where Lana's parents live.  So our property houses 11 people (soon to be 12).  We use the same rubbish bins as everyone around us with 1 or 2 people per house.  The living space per person actually works out about 1/3rd of the 1 or 2 person households.  Yet we feel as if we have ample space.
Power Consumption: We spend around $950 per quarter on Electricity.  That is around $86 per person.  The typical power bill for the 2 person families around here is around $250 to $350 a quarter.  The average per person rate is $150.
Water: We are on tank water.  This means all our water is derived from rainfall running off the roof into our water tanks.
Food and Groceries: Our monthly supermarket bill is around $1,300 per month. (USD $1,100) That is for 9 people, or $122 per person.  This is very efficient as we don't cut back on quality, we just get better value with buying in bulk and re-using leftovers and being more efficient in meal preparation.
Fuel and Cars: We have a family van that seats 12 people.  The fuel economy is about 10km per litre (around 23.5 mpg) similar to a mid range sedan.  We travel as a family in one car rather than two full sedans.  Typically 9 people would be from 3 to 4 families so would need 3 to 4 cars.  The cost of a new car vs a new van is about 1 to 1.5 sedans = 1 van.  So we save around 2 more cars on the road.
Appliances and Equipment:  Once more, the one appliance (TV, DVD player, Cooking utensil) is used by 9 people, not just one or two.

Overall, our ecological footprint is lower than the same number of people in smaller families.  Next time you see a large family piling out of a van in a seemingly never ending stream, think about how they are helping the planet by their efficiency.  Then thank them for saving the planet - one baby at a time.


Mommy Matters said...

Great post!! As a mother to 9 I'm always trying to get people to understand these facts! It's lost on them, they just can't grasp how a large family is actually efficient!! Anyway, I really loved the last line....lol! BTW, Kristen V. sent me to your blog....I'm going to go thank her now!

Paula D said...

Amen and amen! From a mother of 7.

patternnuts said...

not to mention all of the reusing (clothes, shoes, toys, etc) from one child to the next!