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Top Status Symbol for Millionaire Moms is Not What You'd Expect

The Short of It

Sure, you can afford an upscale apartment with a park view, but can you afford to have a lot of kids? A new book says large families are becoming more common on New York's Upper East Side, and for some moms and dads, the more kids you have, the more bragging rights you gain.

The Lowdown

Author Wednesday Martin, PhD, lived on New York's Upper East Side for several years and did a sort of cultural observation of the wealthy—I'm talking millionaire—moms living there. She writes in her new memoir, "Primates of Park Avenue," "I quickly became desensitized to massive families—they were everywhere." Wait. We thought city families were usually one or two kids max.

"Three was the new two, something you just did in this habitat. Four was the new three—previously conversation stopping, but now nothing unusual. Five was no longer crazy or religious—it just meant you were rich. And six was apparently the new town house—or Gulfstream," she says.

So while we stereotype urban families as being smaller, that seems to not be the case. Business Insider points out that Tina Fey (in an essay for The New Yorker) and The New York Post have also observed that Manhattan families seem to be growing among the 1 percent.

The cost of raising a child in the U.S. is estimated to be over $245,000—and more than double that in Manhattan, where preschool may cost up to $40,000 per year. So it makes logical sense that you might be seen as more well to do if you can afford to have more kids. More children means more bedrooms, bigger cars and heftier tuition bills. Business Insider says raising more kids who become successful gives wealthy parents more to brag about.

The Upshot

This is one more strange revelation to come out of Martin's observations of this small NYC culture. Recently, she wrote an essay saying that some stay-at-home moms in this group are given "wife bonuses" for good "performance."

I really hope people are having kids because they really want a larger family to love and not just because they want to keep up with the wealthy Joneses.

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