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The Real Reason Why Americans Are Having Fewer Babies

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Nope, it's not millennials practicing radical beliefs on childrearing; America's fertility rate has been dropping because it's simply become too costly to raise a child in this country.

At least, that's according to The New York Times, which, in partnership with market research firm Morning Consult, asked today's young adults why they're having fewer children than previous generations did.

Many Americans Think Child Care Is Too Expensive

The survey results showed that finding childcare to be too costly, wanting more time for their existing children, and being worried about the economy were among the top reasons why young adults aren't having more babies right now.

The firm asked 1,845 adults aged between 20 and 45, discovering that for those who said they've decided to have fewer children than their ideal number, the cost is the number one factor. In fact, four of the top five factors were related to finance-based worries.

Specifically, 64 percent of the participants said childcare is too expensive, while 54 percent said they wanted to focus on giving more time to children they already have. In addition, 49 percent said they were worried about the country's economy and 44 percent said they can't afford to have more children.

At the bottom of the list is not thinking they're good enough parents, which 13 percent of the participants gave as a reason.

Economic Insecurity And Independence

Clearly, the findings illustrate economic anxiety. However, the results also show women are having more freedom with regard to bearing children.

Women are now free to choose not to have them, whereas before, it was a given for a woman to have a child because the society at that time correlated the ability to conceive, bear, and raise a child as akin to a woman's worth. Now, however, with feminist strides happening more frequently, there's less pressure for women to become mothers.

What's more, parenthood takes a huge toll on one's earnings, especially for women. This is probably why more are refusing to bear children until they've reached a sufficient level of financial stability.

Interestingly, in countries where gender equality isn't strong, fertility rates are high, according to sociologist Philip Cohen.

"There is no getting around the fact that the relationship between gender equality and fertility is very strong: There are no high-fertility countries that are gender equal," Cohen said.

It should be noted that the vast majority of U.S. women still have children. However, the number of births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age was 60.2 last year, a record low. The total fertility rate, which estimates how many children will have based on existing patterns, is down to 1.8, well below the 2.1 rate of other developed countries.

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