"Family Visibility" Across Countries and Cultures

families and musicians on the
metro in Mexico City
One thing I noticed while in Mexico was how many kids there were—riding the metro, walking about with their parents, or even going around trying to sell things. Compare this to the United States, where one typically seems to see children out in public only at child-specific places, like schools, playgrounds, sports fields, and so on. To be sure, Mexico does have a younger population than the U.S., (about 30% of the population under 18, compared to 24% in the U.S.), but what I saw was true in France as well: Both Mexico and France appear to have higher "family visibility" than the U.S.—and I wonder why this is.

"Family visibility" may also vary dramatically between communities: One town might have a culture of more families going for walks, and another might be totally dominated by car culture—even more than usual. It could also vary significantly according to the day of the week: One reason I might have seen so many kids in Mexico City was that I was there on Sunday, apparently the typical "family day" for outings and so on. I was also in Oaxaca during Día de Muertos celebrations, so families may have brought out their kids more for that special occasion.

What are your thoughts about "family visibility"? Have you been to different countries and thought it differed between them? My perspective is a pretty limited one, so please leave a comment and start a conversation.

Comments