Falling birth rate not due to less desire to have children

January 13, 2023 /

Category : Science

Tags : Birth Rate, Children, Young Americans

Falling birth rate not due to less desire to have children

While some people are concerned about America's falling birth rate, a new study suggests young people don't need to be convinced to have more children.

In fact, young Americans haven't changed the number of children they intend to have in decades.

Women born in 1995-1999 wanted to have 2.1 children on average when they were 20-24 years old - essentially the same as the 2.2 children that women born in 1965-1969 wanted at the same age, the study found.

Still, the total fertility rate in the United States was 1.71 in 2019, the lowest level since the 1970s.

What's going on?

The results suggest that today's young adults may be having a more difficult time achieving their goals of having children, said Sarah Hayford, co-author of the study and Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University.

The data in the study can't explain why, but the results fit evidence indicating that young people today don't think now is a good time for them to have children.

"It's hard to have children in the United States right now," said Hayford, who is also director of Ohio State's Institute for Population Research.

"People feel more worried about the future than they might have been several decades ago. They worry about the economy, child care, and whether they can afford to have children."

Hayford conducted the study with Karen Benjamin Guzzo, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Carolina Population Center. Their results were published online on Jan. 10, 2023, in the journal Population and Development Review.