Apparently, according to this article, U.S. women are having fewer babies. I find that hard to believe because it seems like every time I turn around, I find out someone is pregnant or I’m hearing about someone’s new baby, grand-baby, or god-baby. Maybe the “fewer babies” trend is mostly in the more “blue” states like New York and California, because here in North Carolina, I’m just not seeing evidence of it.
I do think the decline in birth rate could be caused by how hard it is to establish oneself in the world as a 20- or 30-something, especially given the Great Recession in 2009 from which we’re still recovering. People my age have student loan debt, which is hard to pay off when you’re also making an inflated rent payment because you can’t buy a house because the housing market is insane. Because women are working on their careers, they are having babies later, in their 30s, and they have fewer babies because their window of fertility is smaller. There’s talk about freezing eggs, but that process is expensive and probably risky.
Some people also have the mentality that it is irresponsible to have children when there is not enough food to go around or when the world is as polluted as it is. I think those issues are more a problem with the distribution of food because I remember hearing somewhere that the world produces way more than enough food for its population. Food is poorly distributed around the world because of government or environmental factors, but there is certainly enough of it.
Another factor could be that life is easier without kids. People in this day and age want a carefree, Instagram-able life, where they can do what they please whenever they please. People also want to buy classy cars and go on expensive trips and pour all their energy into their pets rather than add another child to the world. And I’m not gonna lie: Life is indeed easier without kids. But is it better? That’s a question that you can’t really answer unless you have kids, and most people who have kids would say that their life is enhanced by them.
But as life-enhancing as they are, kids cost a lot of money, and you can’t plan for many of the expenses associated with them. How to avoid these expenses? Don’t have kids, which is now much easier because of the more widespread use and availability of contraceptives. The pill and other forms of artificial birth control like the patch and IUDs have become incredibly effective (98%) over the years (of course, only when used properly). Honestly, I don’t believe abortion is much of a contributor to low birth rates.
Is human life in the United States in danger of dying out because of the low birth rate? I think it’s too soon to tell.