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Millennials Not Having Enough Kids to Reach Replacement Rate

January 21, 2018
Katie Visco
Two Women Looking at Phones Together

Millennials are some of the most professionally driven, innovative, and creative-minded generations people to ever walk the planet. Having grown up during the largest economic recession since the Great Depression, millennials are economically savvy and are known to make life and family-planning choices later than the generations before them. However, we're encountering a big problem -- we are not reaching the replacement rate. 

What is the Replacement Rate?

Why negative population growth is harmful to society

Replacement refers the number of births that need to occur to keep population stable from generation to generation. Therefore, this is directly connected to the necessity to keep fertility rates stable. Right now the fertility rate is 1.8 births per woman and the replacement rate is 2.1 births per woman, creating negative population growth. With the younger population shrinking while older populations stay constant--and older populations live longer than ever before--we are creating imbalance between caretakers and those in need of care, as well as innovators and those in need of innovation.   

What is Driving this Decline in Fertility?

Millennials are to blame (as always, it seems) for the discrepancy

A report from Negative Population Growth Inc. says millennials alone are to blame, reporting that birth rate for women under thirty has fallen to a record low. But this is not necessarily a surprise to sociologists--millennials were born during a huge economic recession, having seen their parents lose jobs, homes, and work through the stresses of economic instability. Millennials are savvy enough to make family planning decisions that align with economic stability necessary to avoid the problems their parents faced during the recession. Even if this means getting married later or delaying the purchase of their first homes, millennials are taking caution. 

Millennials Weigh-In on Fertility CrisisVoicing their opinions where they know best--social media

On twitter, @chriscorrigan says, "OR Millennials introducing reasonable family sizes in response to their grandparents' overbreeding." Twitter user @SauceWatch adds, "1/ Counterpoint: Baby Boomers destroyed the environment making millennial a question whether having kids is ethically viable." Having learned about the blame of a declining population being shifted on themselves, millennials look to provide understanding to older generations who continuously shift the blame of society onto them. Many cite issues of overpopulation and carelessness by baby boomers or the financial responsibility millennials accept in having children--a responsibility they do not believe they are ready to take on. It may take decades for us to see the effects of fertility decline, if we see any at all. It is important to note that with economic changes comes changes in fertility, and that we must look at the full picture of society when making assumptions about a single generation. For now, let's all agree that family planning is a personal choice that will be made when a couple is ready to take the wonderful step of parenthood in their lives.  


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