WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY. 04, 2015
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U.S. Millennial Birth Rate May Create Economic and Societal Shift

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Millennial women in the United States are the slowest generation to have children, and this could have dire consequences for the economy and society as a whole, economists warn.  

See Also: Millennials More Educated But Less Employable Than Generation X 

Lowest Birthrate in History

When it comes to millennials today, reports suggest that millennials - both men and women - don’t want to own a home a car or get married. This also means that millennials don’t want to have children; they either don’t want them or they believe they cannot afford them.

According to a new report from the Urban Institute, millennial women are the slowest to have children than any other generation in U.S. history. Study authors aren’t placing the blame on various fertility innovations or career choices. Instead, researchers are citing the economy and a lack of marital commitment as the most important reasons for the delay of childbirth.

The report noted that between 2007 and 2012, birth rates among female Americans in their 20s dropped by 15 percent. This isn’t a racial matter either as all the races saw a decline in birth rates. The birth rate for Hispanics fell 26 percent, blacks dropped 14 percent and whites declined 11 percent.

The birth rate in the U.S. remained stable between the 80s and early 2000s, but by the time the Great Recession occurred the reproduction rate hit 948 births per 1,000 women. Although previous economic calamities have led to slight dips in birth rates, experts say it has never been this big. This could lead the U.S. to transform into the next Japan.

"If these low birth rates to women in their twenties continue, the U.S. might eventually face the type of generational imbalance that currently characterizes Japan and some European countries, but it is too early to predict or worry about that eventuality," the report stated.

Nan Marie Astone, one of the report’s authors, did aver to CNBC that even if millennial women aren’t having babies in their 20s they could very well have them in their 30s, which has become a very popular trend all over the world. Most millennials today are still focusing on their education, careers and finances in their 20s.

The report, ostensibly, didn’t seem to share Astone’s level of optimism. It wrote:

"There are non-financial resources that older parents bring to raising their children and so an older average age at birth is a benefit for children in this sense. As our economy becomes increasingly unequal, it is not clear how much more economically secure disadvantaged groups of young women and men will be in their thirties than they were in their twenties ... how (or whether) they will form families in their thirties is still very much in question."

Millennials Aren’t Buying Houses

In the meantime, Astone noted that one of the industries to be most concerned over this data would be the real estate sector. In many instances, there is a correlation between having a child and buying a home. This could end up being another deterrent to a revival in the housing market.

Moreover, he added that this data could have other effects on societal matters. Astone told the business news network there could be "a temporary drop in the number of very young children ... has implications for planning how many Head Start spots, vials of vaccine, and, eventually, seats in the classroom we need."

As Astone said in jest to CBS News, demographics maintain a pretty weak track record when it comes to making prognostications.

See Also: Janet Yellen to U.S. Congress: Millennials Are Still a Mystery

Do you think the low birthrate is a serious problem or are millennials just taking their time for financial reasons? Your thoughts and comments below please...

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