Fewer young women than ever are having babies for one very unsurprising reason

Thinking about having a baby? If you’re in your mid-to-late 20s, and still feel like it’s too early, you’re not alone. It turns out that the the U.S. fertility rate has actually sank in recent years, reporting that there’s only been 59.8 babies per 1,000 women of childbearing age in the first quarter of the year. To make a comparison, that’s pretty much half of what the rate was back in the 1950s.


Of course, a lot has changed since that time period: Birth control became a bigger deal (and less of a scary topic to openly discuss, thankfully) and back then, most people were able to actually buy a house and get set up before thinking about starting a family. Also, many women are finally realizing that while having babies might be nice, it’s not something they have to do, or something people should expect them to do.

But, the biggest reason of all? Kids are expensive. Like, really, really expensive. And even if a household has two working adults that bring in an income, the cost of childcare is astronomical. Some jobs also don’t offer any kind of family leave, which is significant to have.

“We have to see the declining fertility as being economic,” said Nan Astone, senior fellow at the Urban Institute. And, she’s absolutely correct.

Not only did people in their 20s and 30s just handle a massive recession, but jobs just aren’t as secure as they used to be. Being laid off from a job isn’t really a rarity these these — it’s just another hurdle that young adults have to live with. And speaking of the recession, it seems like between the years of 2007 and 2012, when we were hit by the bad economical time the hardest, the birthrate for women in their 20’s fell by a whopping 15%.

So, if you’re hoping to have a family someday, but feel like you might be “too old,” have no fear — these days, mid-30’s is the new mid-20’s. And you’re likely in the majority.

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