Fertility rates typically mirror the economy. The crash of 2008 was followed by a dip in the birth rate, for instance. The economic recovery is now nearly a decade old, however. So what’s up with the birth rate? Well, remember, for women in the adult age ranges, it’s doing just fine. The data indicates that Millennials are waiting for financial or relationship stability to start a family, but when they reach that point, they go for it — despite concerns about “too much Netflix, not enough chill,” blame can’t be laid at their feet. In fact, by not having children in their teens, Millennials have actually improved their generation’s financial outlook.
Take a closer look at the Millennials, however, and factors such as high housing costs, an overwhelming student debt burden, record high consumer debt, and a delayed entry into the labor market have been a drag on their ability to attain many traditional “adult milestones.” They also have been paying attention, and may have noticed parents complaining about the high cost of child care (an average of $8,320 per year), the hostility of most workplaces to mothers, and the lifetime financial penalty women face for having children.
“The reality is, for all its pro-family rhetoric, the U.S. is a remarkably harsh place for families, and particularly for mothers,” said Amy Westervelt, author of “ Forget “Having It All”—How America Messed Up Motherhood, and How to Fix It. She also notes that her generation’s concerns about climate change have had a chilling effect on their attitude towards reproducing. “Because a small handful of men decided that their own profits and comfort were more important than the rest of the world’s safety, any new humans that join the world will face greater challenges than the generation that came before.”
So what’s the solution? Well, two things.
We could bring that teen birth rate back up. Trump’s family planning policies, which range from increasing funding for abstinence-only sex education to attempts to shut down family planning programs, will do just that, if the data from states that have enacted such policies play out on a national level.
We could also permit more immigration, relieving the pressure on parts of the world where the birth rate is skyrocketing, and providing an immediate, much-needed source of workers and future babies for a U.S. economy that is struggling to find enough workers.
Guess which plan Trump prefers?