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Half of Millennials and Gen Zers would rather focus on themselves than have children
By Cassie B. // Aug 01, 2023

New research has revealed that a sizable percentage of millennials and those in Gen Z do not have plans to start a family, citing reasons ranging from career aspirations and finances to the environment.

According to OnePoll, who surveyed 1,000 British adults aged 18 to 34, just 55 percent of people in this age range plan to start a family. A quarter of those in this age group have already ruled out having children entirely, while a fifth said they are uncertain whether they wish to eventually have children. More than half of those polled said they did not feel that having children was necessary to “feel fulfilled in their lives.”

When it came to the reasons driving this general disinterest in starting a family, 49 percent said they would like to have “more time to focus” on themselves. Forty-seven percent cited financial concerns, while 38 percent said their “fears about the state of the world” were holding them back and 35 percent were worried about “the impact on the environment” of having kids. Just 28 percent identified career aspirations as the reason for not wanting to start a family.

Nevertheless, nearly three quarters of those polled said that they felt pressured by society to have children, with 40 percent saying the pressure was coming from family members, especially their mothers.

A OnePoll representative told the media: “For generations, having children has just been the done thing, but it seems younger people are now deciding against this more and more.”

“Not only are finances squeezed more than ever, but young adults are becoming more aware of the impact on society and the environment. But the societal expectation is still there, and for most people once they’re in a relationship, they can expect people to be asking them about children.”

Meanwhile, those who do intend to have children said they do not want to have more than two, with financial concerns cited as the reason for not choosing to have a bigger family. Forty-three percent were worried they could not give enough attention to more children, while 27 percent said that worries about climate impact and resource consumption were holding them back from having more kids.

When asked what would motivate them to have children, 28 percent of young adults said that 30 hours per week of government-provided free childcare for younger children would make them either "somewhat" or "a lot" more likely to start a family.

These findings echoed a Deloitte survey of Gen Z and Millennials released this spring that found that more than half of people in this age range are living paycheck to paycheck and 47 percent believe that starting a family will “become harder or impossible” as a result.

China is taking measures to grow its birth rate

In China, people are being encouraged to use approaches like in vitro fertilization (IVF) to raise birth rates and reverse the effects of the country’s longstanding one-child policy. Millions of dollars have been donated by state agencies to develop a national assisted reproductive technology program, and the Chinese Communist Party is also considering giving single women access to both IVF and child support. The country is now providing more than a million assisted reproduction cycles per year, while the U.S. reports 370,000 and the UK provides just 70,000.

Last year, China noted its first population decline in 60 years, and the number is expected to be even lower this year. Their rate of births per 1,000 people is 6.77, while the death rate is 7.37. The U.S.’s birth rate is much higher at 12.023 per 1,000 people.

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