America faces a record low fertility rate for the second year in a row. The research had blamed the latest recession. But even after the economic recovery, the numbers do not look any better. The reason why Americans have fewer babies mainly hides behind financial insecurity. Also, it may be bounded with woman rights and the gender equality movement.
Many related concerns like the immigration situation, education, housing, the labor market, and the governmental fund, affect Americans’ decision to have larger families. Besides that, young adults prefer to have more spare time for themselves and personal freedom; some of them are still single or not sure if they want to commit to this “challenge”; others are stopped because of the child-care costs.
Below you can see a bar chart with the most common reasons.
Not surprisingly, almost a quarter of the respondents claim that time and money are the biggest concerns that impact their final decision. Many young adults have student debts, especially those who were studying during the recession. The vast majority of them can’t afford homes. So, many financial factors have proved increased expenses and a not so parenthood-friendly environment. In addition, women have to pay the earnings penalty for having children. Finally, a parental leave allowance isn’t available to either mothers or fathers in the United States.
Additionally, gender equality also has an effect on this matter: women feel more powerful to stand for their individual choice to be a mother or not. This proves that the patriarchal family model is out of date.
The absence of government spending on child care has a strong impact too. These types of policies could positively affect the fertility rate. Germany and Japan have used such ideas to reverse declining fertility.
In the world run by individualism, more and more people desire to achieve their career goals, which usually comes together with extra hours spent at work. That leads to the lack of leisure time and burn outs. While young adults are trying to ensure a comfortable life, the shortage of time kills a desire to step into the parental world. In a way it also makes them think that they wouldn’t be good parents.
“Even though the vast majority of American women have children, the statistics show that the number of births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age, was a record low 60.2 in 2017. The total fertility rate — which estimates how many children women will have based on current patterns — is down to 1.8, below the replacement level in developed countries of 2.1.” (The New York Times)
The previous trends that determined a higher fertility rate were related with teenage or accidental pregnancies, the great number of gestation among Hispanic immigrants. However, mainly birth control and industrialization are responsible for the current situation.
The research also revealed that in the age group between 40 and 44 the fertility rate increased, while the rate starts declining at age 32.