November 22, 2021 – More U.S. adults who haven’t had children say they don’t want to have children in the future, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.
Birth rates fell in the United States during the pandemic, marking the sixth year in a row that they have fallen. Fertility rates in the United States were at a record low before the pandemic, the center reported.
As part of the survey, non-parents between the ages of 18 and 49 answered the question: “When you think about the future, how likely is it that you will have children one day?”
About 44% said it was “not too likely” or “not at all likely” that they will one day have children, up 7 percentage points from the 37% who said the same thing in a 2018 Pew poll. In addition, 74% of adults under 50 who are parents said they are unlikely to have more children.
In contrast, 26% of childless adults said it was “very likely” to have children, up from 32% in 2018. About 29% said “more likely” in both this year and 2018.
For parents and non-parents, men and women were equally likely to say that they are unlikely to have any more children in the future. Adults in their forties were more likely to say they would not have children.
When asked for a reason, 56% of non-parents said they just don’t want to have children. Childless adults under 40 years of age were more likely to say so than those between 40 and 49 years of age. There were no differences between men and women.
In addition, 43% gave reasons such as medical problems, economic or financial concerns and no partner. A smaller number of people reported their age or the age of their partner, the “state of the world”, environmental concerns and climate change.
Parents also cited medical problems and financial concerns as the main reasons they were unlikely to have more children. Mothers were more likely to mention medical problems and fathers were more likely to say they already have children. About 26% of parents under 40 reported financial concerns.
The poll suggests long-term trends in parenting in the United States, according to The Washington Post. In April, the Census Bureau reported that the US population had grown at the second slowest rate in ten years over the past decade.
Other recent surveys have shown childcare, health care and education costs as reasons for moving or not having children, the newspaper reported. Global instability, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change have also resulted in shifts in attitudes toward marriage, children, and life priorities.