Perhaps you’ve heard that Americans aren’t having as many babies as they did in the past.
In fact, the U.S. birth rate dropped to an all-time low in 2017. American women gave birth to 3.85 million infants in 2017, a 2 percent dip from 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
At 60 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, this marks the lowest birth rate in U.S. history.
Are there reasons for concern?
Yes, the fact that American women are having fewer than two children each (the average was 1.76 in 2017) doesn’t bode well for the economy.
New York Times Survey
Writes Hilary Brueck, science reporter for Business Insider: “Rich countries like the U.S. and Japan are struggling to make enough babies. As sizeable populations of older adults retire and age out of the workforce, younger people are having fewer kids. It’s setting up a ticking demographic time bomb, readying to explode when there aren’t enough young people to care and pay for what the older generation needs.”
So, are today’s young adults focused on themselves and simply don’t want the hassle of raising children?
Most of the concerns are economic, according to a recent survey of young adults conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times.
“Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there’s a lot of concern about why today’s young adults aren’t having as many children. So we asked them,” writes Times correspondent Claire Cain Miller in a July 5 article.
Why Not More Kids? They Cost a Lot of Money
The No. 1 reason cited in the Times survey for not having children was the high cost of childcare (64%). Slightly more than half answered wanting “more time for the children I have” and 49% said they were worried about the economy. More than one in three cited “no paid family leave” and “worried about global instability.”
However, 42 percent did check off “want more leisure time” and 36 percent responded that they struggle to balance work with life outside their jobs.
Miller points to policies used by other nations as a way to reverse declining birth rates.
“Researchers say the United States could adopt policies that make it easier for people to both raise children and build careers. Government spending on child care for young children has the strongest effect. Policies that encourage parents to share childcare help, too. Germany and Japan have used such ideas to reverse declining fertility.”