While publications dove into the whys and hows of this continued decline and experts shared their take on the subjects, many citizens—the ones not having said babies—took to Twitter to explain why they personally aren’t having children and might not want to start a family in the future.
A new federal report released by the National Center for Health Statistics Wednesday revealed that the number of babies born in the U.S. dropped by 4% in 2020 compared with the previous year. "This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979," the NCHS said. Despite many expecting a sort of baby boom towards the end of last year, roughly nine months after couples started spending more time together at home due to the pandemic, early evidence seemed to suggest that the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated a trend among American women of delaying pregnancy.
The U.S. birth rate dropped by 4% in 2020 — reaching its lowest level since 1979. It's the sixth consecutive year that the number of babies born in the U.S. has declined.https://t.co/WInc6JHQzV— NPR (@NPR) May 5, 2021
"The birthrate is the lowest it's ever been," Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, told The New York Times. "At some point, the question is going to be: The women who delayed having babies, are they ever going to have them? If they don’t, that’s a permanent notch in the American births structure." While publications dove into the whys and hows of this trend and experts shared their take on the subjects, many young citizens—the ones not having said babies—took to Twitter to explain why they personally aren’t having children and might not want to start a family in the future.
Before the epidemic, the number of babies born in the U.S. was falling < 1% a year. Data from 25 states suggests a steeper decline in 2020 and into 2021.— Mike Stobbe (@MikeStobbe) April 28, 2021
Annual births for 2020 fell 4.3%. Births in Dec 2020 and in Jan and Feb 2021 dropped even more. https://t.co/b0tbN4eJNM
"If your 'why is the birthrate decreasing' story doesn't talk about student debt, untenable childcare and healthcare costs, housing costs, patriarchy & the enduring unequal distribution of labor in the home it is not a good 'why is the birthrate decreasing' story," tweeted writer Anne Helen Petersen. "US birthdate at a historic low. Not surprising. In order to have a child in this country, you need money, a supportive partner/team, childcare, a flexible work schedule, etc. Parenthood in the US is reserved for the privileged and young Americans know it," wrote journalist Tanzina Vega.
The U.S. once was among only a few developed countries with a fertility rate that ensured each generation had enough children to replace it...But it’s been sliding, and last year dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record. https://t.co/xbyEpr8cXp— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) May 5, 2021
"I’m a solo working parent of a 16-month-old. I struggle without many of the things I outlined in the first tweet. This country does not support parents," Vega added. "This country is also on fire when it comes to sexism, racism, mass shootings, domestic terror, etc."
Here are more refreshingly honest responses from people as to why they aren't having babies yet:
It's almost like if you saddle a generation with massive debt, then hit them with the 2nd economic crisis of their working lives, while simultaneously showing how little your society cares about children or care-giving, they will make choices accordingly https://t.co/01NoUOZSN0— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) May 5, 2021
Having a kid in the US is the difference between poor vs lower middle class. By not having kids, I've been able to save enough money to claw my way into a mortgage. Everyone is ignoring climate change anyway, it hardly seems wise to bring a kid into such a chaotic world.— 🌹🍄We're All Mad (Online) Here🎩🌹 (@Lollerwaffle) May 5, 2021
Also, looking at what has happened in the last five years, some skepticism about the wisdom of bringing children into the world in this current state is no doubt involved.— Nefarious "Wear a F*cking Mask" Newt (@NefariousNewt) May 5, 2021
also maybe fix climate change DUH— Ely Kreimendahl (@ElyKreimendahl) May 5, 2021
Older Generations: You having a livable wage, paternity accommodations, and affordable tuition rates is not our problem!— Cara C. ♻️🌲💡 (@energyisaright) May 6, 2021
Same older generations when they hear that the birthrate is dropping: pic.twitter.com/tXUOWAjjFm
What did they expect? You can't just force women to have children they know they can't afford. Idiots are doing everything they can to stop abortion and nothing to encourage childbirth, and the results are the opposite of their goal. 😆 🤣 😂 😹 😆 🤣 😂 😹— Ladybug 53.5 (@ladybugdink) May 5, 2021
Both of my kids don’t want kids. Son is 34 daughter is 30. They both say they don’t want to raise children because of #1 government #2 climate change. They both think that we are killing our planet and each other— Robin Kirk-Tillitson (@sinnamarie) May 5, 2021
We've built a society where it's hard for young adults to find good jobs and almost impossible for them to buy houses, and now we're surprised the birthrate is dropping? Buying a house and putting a little money in the bank were literally our criteria for 'ready to have a kid'.— Nickolas Means (@nmeans) May 7, 2021
why are so many people irritated with women in my age range not having kids? I like being able to eat Doritos in my bed by myself without being interrupted, and I'm sorry, but babies definitely interrupt that— Queen Kitten 👑 (@ElaniKitten) May 6, 2021
i am literally too selfish to have a baby, i would probably be a bad mother. of course, if i were a man, nobody would care that i didn't want to have children, but i'm a woman so i need an excuse more compelling than "i don't want to and don't think i would be good at it"— and my haters can quote me on that (@lyta_gold) May 5, 2021
There are a few points that always come up when reasoning away the dropping birthrate but I’d also like to supply:— artplebe @ delusionally sexy 2021 (@artplebe) May 6, 2021
- climate catastrophe
- declining fertility due to said climate catastrophe
- introducing another being to the horrors of consciousness
Why aren’t millennials having children?? pic.twitter.com/w24Y8jAdaa— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) May 5, 2021
On one hand you have to give up everything from oysters to alcohol to amusement parks to saunas for the better part of an entire year but on the other hand it costs more than a house used to cost if anything goes wrong but at least it also might kill or maim you permanently— Erin justice breyer please retire Ryan (@morninggloria) May 5, 2021
Them: Don't have kids if you can't afford it!— Miss B (@MissBGause) May 5, 2021
Also them: WHY IS THE BIRTHRATE DECLINING??
About 13,000/yr and that’s if everything goes right, like no medical emergencies, family vacays, etc.— Antifa Super Soldier (@Adalis) May 5, 2021
... And that's a baseline.— Yes, I'm A Fire Sign (@KateTheFlame1) May 6, 2021
Now you have a kid that would like to go to college. But the most affordable way is via scholarship.
And space camp only costs $3600 for a week.
And a set of hockey gear costs $400.
Oh, does your child need braces? $12,000
It's a racket.
the declining birth rate in our country has forced me to ask myself a couple tough questions such as “who cares” and “so what”— 𝑜𝓁𝒹 𝓉𝑜𝓂 (@YuckyTom) May 5, 2021
Why would I wanna give birth if the hospital bill is my yearly rent??— Big Red “ Dirt mommy” (@HufflepuffLord) May 5, 2021
✔️ No universal healthcare— Dr O'Dingus, PHD (@uncivilobedient) May 5, 2021
✔️ No universal parental leave
✔️ Stagnant wages
✔️ Inflated real estate market
✔️ Terrible work/life balance (time off)
"The human race will be extinct in 75 years thanks to climate change if things keep going like they're going. Why aren't more people having kids to feed directly into the gaping maw of doom?"— Telstarcules (@TelstarMan) May 5, 2021
Gotta love the world— ComicBooksPlus (@4ColorCrack) May 6, 2021
World: you woman have baby
Woman: I can't take care of one
World: no do it
Woman: ok I did. Can I have help?
World: no you should of thought about that before having a baby
The structure of our society, for the majority of us, is not conducive to healthy family life/child rearing. We're all drowning financially and stressed so having kids lacks common sense in this climate.— Katherine Jones, CSR (@WelshKthrn) May 5, 2021
Adoption is so inaccessible as well. My adoption was $20k just for paperwork. It’s all against us.— 𝔄𝔩𝔢𝔵𝔢𝔰 𝔍𝔬𝔥𝔫𝔰𝔬𝔫 (@AlexesJohnson) May 5, 2021
As a woman getting married to a man this year, I reserve the right to scream “IN THIS ECONOMY?” At any stranger who asks rude questions about our business— helen 👩🏻🦰🗺🏛 (@hideflen) May 5, 2021
Make it very difficult to afford a family while simultaneously demonizing immigrants. Like sorry but if you wanna keep childrearing unaffordable then you need to allow more people in ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— 🥺 pfrobably a c-word ♊ (@anitasunshiine) May 6, 2021
It's breaking my heart as my friends who wanted kids, but couldn't afford them, start to reach the end of their fertility.— Jessica Lee (@JessLeeEsq) May 5, 2021
They're grieving, hard.