Once upon a time thousands of millennials with unpaid internships and nutrient-deficient ramen-diets bought tickets to SXSW, spent all their money on tattoos, and then decided to have babies. False. The Urban Institute recently published a study that puts statistics to the reality millennials live in: They may be of prime child bearing age, they may have loving romantic relationships, and careers that are slowly taking shape—but they can’t, they won't, or they maybe don't even want to have babies.
A large majority of millennials have gone through higher education, advocated for reproductive rights, challenged norms, and pursued living life in accordance with what they truly desire. And in a lot of ways, they’ve won. More than any other generation, millennials have the right to choose what they do with their bodies and lives. And they’ve tweaked some governing systems to support them.
So maybe millennial women don’t want to have children or create their own families—but if they do, there are some major roadblocks keeping them from doing it. Studies show that women who want to have children are not having them because of economic strife. The skyrocketing price of rent, the unpaid internship epidemic, the fragile economy and job market… intentions to have children or get married are being put on the back burner, because these things are simply impossible.
The Urban Institute reports that millennials are having the least amount of children compared to any other generation in the history of the United States. Woah. On average, birth rates among American millennial women in their twenties has dropped by 15 percent. Some of these choices to forget reproduction are totally intentional. Millennial women may be choosing their careers, their individualistic progress, and different goals. But other times, baby-intentioned folks are just responding to a scarcity of resources and a poor economy. Will millennials finally hit a financial plateau in their 40s and have children then? Or are we looking at a future that’s going to be much less populated, and full of new cultural surprises?
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