Next generation baby bust; why people aren’t having kids

Alexandra Erickson, Reporter

It is hard to imagine that there may come a time where the idea of bringing children into this world is looked upon as a burden; however, in recent years, studies and extensive research has shown that adults are choosing to not have children for a variety of reasons. For Millenials, this is because they want to be able to take advantage of their personal freedom and leisure time. According to an OpEd from the New York Times, the vast majority of women that do not want children attribute this to the fear that they will not be able to obtain a stable income to comfortably support a family.
Junior Noe Corren understands why this epidemic is becoming more prominent.
“In today’s society, people don’t want to have kids because there is less stress on people actually figuring out how to take care of themselves first,” Corren said.
Even as a young adult Corren recognizes that the cost of living is on a steep upward trend and it is making it more difficult for people to have and raise children.
“I also feel like the cost of living is just increasing every single day by so much and whether people want to have kids or not like it’s not an option everyone just gets to have.
Some people just don’t have the money to bring a child into this world and while it’s unfortunate there’s not much someone can do,” Corren said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the average woman has 1.77 children in her life span, a decrease from 1.82 in 2016 and 1.84 in 2015. So, what exactly is going on here? Why is the birth rate declining nationwide?
According to the New York Times, not only are young adults considering having fewer children, but adults that have previously had children are unwilling or apprehensive to have more.
This is largely attributed to the growing financial responsibilities associated with parenthood. The cost of living from the beginning of the millennial age up until this point has greatly increased, making it hard to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. According to KQED News, inflation has become so prevalent that every factor in the cost of living has been increased by several dollars. This reality applies to those who are currently supporting only themselves or their spouse, and adding children into the mix could complicate financial situations even more. Logically, if one were to have children, they are taking on the responsibility of another human being and providing the means to support the child in every way that he or she may need. Unfortunately, this all comes at a cost.
Beyond that, children, especially nowadays, are experiencing more pressure to be and act a certain way, as well as conform to the social constructs that society has built.
“There is a lot of stress too nowadays for people to be and act a certain way and meet a certain standard of life, and the reality is that it is extremely stressful. It’s something every child, teen, and adult experiences on a daily basis now I feel like,” Corren stated.
Even younger children are experiencing stress-induced trauma, and as a parent, it can be challenging to handle these situations with grace and responsibility. With these aspects of parenting in mind, it emphasizes the importance of being ready to take care of someone else and in order to do so, one must realize their own responsibility for themselves and learn to manage that first.
Jessica Boer, a source from the New York Times feels that it is becoming harder and harder to be a good parent in the world today because it is the young adults of this generation that still have growing up to do themselves.
“I would have the responsibility to raise this person into a functional and productive citizen, and some days I’m not even productive,” a Boer said.
Redwood alumni Helene Churton feels that it is completely understandable that people are choosing to not have kids.
“I think that recent generations have proven that life is so much more than the white picket fence and the whole idea of the American dream. There is so much opportunity out there for young people in the world and I don’t blame the kids of younger generations for wanting to take advantage of that,” Churton said.
While each person has their own valid reasoning for why they don’t want to have kids, many results show that this decrease in desire for having kids coincides with the feminist movement.
“With all of the feminist movements going on and the rest of the world finally getting on board, women are taking advantage of the freedom they have. I feel like a big part of the stereotypical woman is the stay at home housewife and I think that women today are taking part in any actions they can to break that norm,” Churton said.
According to the study conducted by the New York Times, drastic changes in the number of women that want to have children have dropped. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by the Washington Post, 63 percent of women identify themselves as strong feminists. Is the desire for freedom and nonattachment to the typical ideals of a woman trumping the bearing of children? It could be.
You may often hear parents and guardians parading around and saying “my kids are what have made my life, complete,” while that may reign true for some, we may be reaching an age where freedom to live where, how, and whichever way someone wants will fill the same void.