The 2020 Baby Bust

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Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of fewer babies crying on your airplane when you travel this summer. The reason why you don’t hear their cries is that there are fewer children being born in the United States. Since everyone was trapped inside for the better part of a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, many people thought we would experience another baby boom. However, the expected baby boom was a baby bust.

There are a number of reasons for the low birth rates, like easier access to contraceptives and better education in developed countries. Just look at Japan or most of Western Europe. Both Japan and Western Europe are experiencing lowering birth rates. There is also wealth inequality that plays into it as well.

One of the main reasons that Americans aren’t having kids is because a lot of people can’t afford them. According to the Federal Reserve, the top 10% of families own 76% of the nation’s wealth. This incredibly uneven distribution of money is not going to lend itself to couples taking on the extra burden of starting a family. The lack of funds that the average family has is not inclusive of a steady birth rate. 

The Plutus Foundation, a non-profit financial aid organization, states that raising a child to 18 years old it would cost the average family around $233,610 in total or $12,980 a year per kid. That is not even counting the emotional and physical toll that children can have on their parents. With this in mind, it makes sense that people don’t want to have kids from a financial point of view. If it is going to be difficult to afford to give the child a good life then why put yourself or the child in that situation? That mixed on top of the accessibility of contraceptives it makes perfect sense why Millennials and older Gen Z people don’t want kids.

Also, if you look at the current state of the world from just a bird’s eye point of view, why would you want to bring new life into it. Currently, we are on track towards an unprecedented climate disaster. Tensions are rising between the United States and the growing superpower, China. We are now at the tail end of a global pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide. Now is not a great time in human history to start raising a family if this is the world the children will inherit.

Currently, a solution to this slow birth rate is increased immigration from other nations or creating programs to encourage people to have children if it becomes really bad. However, the U.S. population isn’t growing as fast as it used to. According to the Census, the US population only grew by .35%. That level of annual growth hasn’t been seen since 1900. That won’t change unless having a kid becomes less expensive or more affordable.