The total fertility rate in the US is far "below replacement," which means that not enough kids are born in the current generation to replace the current one.
The falling birthrate in a country is always a cause for concern because there will be fewer people who can take the country forward. In the US, the birthrate declined by 4% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a new federal report. "This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979," the National Center for Health Statistics said.
The total fertility rate in the US is far "below replacement," which means that not enough kids are born in the current generation to replace the current one, as per NPR. "The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007," according to the agency, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Before the epidemic, the number of babies born in the U.S. was falling < 1% a year. Data from 25 states suggests a steeper decline in 2020 and into 2021.— Mike Stobbe (@MikeStobbe) April 28, 2021
Annual births for 2020 fell 4.3%. Births in Dec 2020 and in Jan and Feb 2021 dropped even more. https://t.co/b0tbN4eJNM
Even though multiple celebrities had babies over the last year, the pandemic is actually adding to the decline in the birthrate. There were 3,605,201 births in the United States in 2020, which is the lowest number since 1979, according to The New York Times. "The birthrate is the lowest it’s ever been,” Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, said. "At some point, the question is going to be: The women who delayed having babies, are they ever going to have them? If they don’t, that’s a permanent notch in the American births structure."
This report had experts debating about the hows and whys of it, but some young adults decided to add in their two cents as well. "If your "why is the birthrate decreasing" story doesn't talk about student debt, untenable childcare and healthcare costs, housing costs, patriarchy & the enduring unequal distribution of labor in the home it is not a good "why is the birthrate decreasing" story," tweeted writer Anne Helen Petersen.
Here are some tweets that show why young adults and millennials are increasingly choosing not to have children:
I’m a solo working parent of a 16 month old. I struggle without many of the things I outlined in the first tweet. This country does not support parents.— Tanzina Vega (@tanzinavega) May 5, 2021
It's almost like if you saddle a generation with massive debt, then hit them with the 2nd economic crisis of their working lives, while simultaneously showing how little your society cares about children or care-giving, they will make choices accordingly https://t.co/01NoUOZSN0— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) May 5, 2021
Why aren’t millennials having children?? pic.twitter.com/w24Y8jAdaa— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) May 5, 2021
There are a few points that always come up when reasoning away the dropping birthrate but I’d also like to supply:— artplebe @ delusionally sexy 2021 (@artplebe) May 6, 2021
- climate catastrophe
- declining fertility due to said climate catastrophe
- introducing another being to the horrors of consciousness
i am literally too selfish to have a baby, i would probably be a bad mother. of course, if i were a man, nobody would care that i didn't want to have children, but i'm a woman so i need an excuse more compelling than "i don't want to and don't think i would be good at it"— and my haters can quote me on that (@lyta_gold) May 5, 2021
We've built a society where it's hard for young adults to find good jobs and almost impossible for them to buy houses, and now we're surprised the birthrate is dropping? Buying a house and putting a little money in the bank were literally our criteria for 'ready to have a kid'.— Nickolas Means (@nmeans) May 7, 2021
Both of my kids don’t want kids. Son is 34 daughter is 30. They both say they don’t want to raise children because of #1 government #2 climate change. They both think that we are killing our planet and each other— Robin Kirk-Tillitson (@sinnamarie) May 5, 2021
Older Generations: You having a livable wage, paternity accommodations, and affordable tuition rates is not our problem!— Cara C. ♻️🌲💡 (@energyisaright) May 6, 2021
Same older generations when they hear that the birthrate is dropping: pic.twitter.com/tXUOWAjjFm
also maybe fix climate change DUH— Ely Kreimendahl (@ElyKreimendahl) May 5, 2021
Also, looking at what has happened in the last five years, some skepticism about the wisdom of bringing children into the world in this current state is no doubt involved.— Nefarious "Wear a F*cking Mask" Newt (@NefariousNewt) May 5, 2021
Having a kid in the US is the difference between poor vs lower middle class. By not having kids, I've been able to save enough money to claw my way into a mortgage. Everyone is ignoring climate change anyway, it hardly seems wise to bring a kid into such a chaotic world.— 🌹🍄We're All Mad (Online) Here🎩🌹 (@Lollerwaffle) May 5, 2021
The youth are thinking things through and enjoying their lives freely instead of just following along with societal expectations of getting married and having kids. I say good for them!— Patty (@taintedlove_22) May 5, 2021
Them: Don't have kids if you can't afford it!— Miss B (@MissBGause) May 5, 2021
Also them: WHY IS THE BIRTHRATE DECLINING??
Cover image source: Getty images | Photo by Praetorianphoto