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- The US birthrate is at its lowest for the first time in 32 years, Bill Chappell reported for NPR, citing CDC data.
- An expert told Chappell that young adults’ uncertainty about America’s future is a contributing factor to the decline, but parents say it’s because kids are too expensive.
- The CDC’s findings underscore other studies that say millennials are delaying having kids for financial reasons — more thirtysomethings than twentysomethings are having kids for the first time ever.
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Baby fever has taken a back seat in America.
The US birthrate is at its lowest for the first time in 32 years, reported Bill Chappell for NPR, citing a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The decline occurred for nearly all racial and age groups.
While experts found these findings surprising in light of a healthy US economy and job market, some told Chappell that job security, today’s political climate, and a negative view on America’s future are contributing to the decline.
"Not a whole lot of things are going good, and that’s haunting young people in particular, more than old people," Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California, told Chappell.
Many parents expressed their thoughts via social media in response to the report, citing high insurance costs, the search for childcare, and lack of parental leave as challenges to having kids, Chappell wrote.
Their sentiments state the obvious: Kids are expensive. And they’ve only gotten more expensive as the cost of living continues to rise.
Kids are expensive, so millennials are waiting longer to have them
To raise a child to age 18 in America, it’ll cost parents an average of $230,000, according to a Merrill Lynch report. The percentage of respondents (2,500 American parents) who said their finances played a role in becoming a parent has increased by 40% since 1970. Having kids can cause family spending patterns and investment patterns to shift, according to the report.
Finances are one of the top reasons why American millennials aren’t having kids or are having fewer kids than they considered ideal, reported Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz, citing a survey by The New York Times.
The survey polled 1,858 men and women aged 20 to 45 — 64% said childcare is too expensive, 44% said they can’t afford to have more children, and 43% said they waited to have kids because of financial instability (multiple answers were allowed).
Shelling out money for children is even harder when spending money on other increased costs. Millennials, the generation at prime childbearing age, are already struggling financially from the ongoing fallout of the recession, increasing student loan debt, and rising living costs like rent and housing.
The effects are palpable: More thirtysomething women are having babies than women in their 20s for the first time ever — a difference that grew in 2018, according to the CDC report. Ultimately, a delay in having kids — and getting married — gives millennials more time to get their financial affairs in order first.
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