This news comes on the heels of the U.S. Census recently reporting that the birthrate in the country has dropped to the second lowest since the Census Bureau began tracking it in 1790.
What is even more interesting is that the drop in birth rates has been across every race and ethnicity: down 8% for Asian Americans, 3% for Hispanics; 4% for Black and White women; and 6% for American Indian/Alaskan women.
These findings have already started ringing alarm bells among policy makers and demographers. Is the U.S. now on the same track as a market like Japan, with a shrinking population and inverted population pyramid? And if so, what does this mean for us?
New York Times correspondent Sabrina Tavernise recently commented on “The Daily” podcast that population “growth means vitality . . . and decline in some sense signifies a death or weakness.”
According to recent research from Cassandra, many younger Americans express some trepidation about the current state of the world and question whether this is the right environment for raising children. Of those who don’t already have children, 50% of Gen Z-ers and only 44% of millennials in the U.S. report that they want to have kids. These numbers are low compared to other markets like the U.K,. where 6 out of 10 Gen Z-ers report wanting to have children.
But there is more behind the declining birth rates than just the current state of the world. This research shows that for many younger Americans, familial relationships are taking a backseat. For example, more than a quarter of all Gen Z-ers say that the most important relationship they have is with themselves. Boyfriends/girlfriends/partners and parents are secondary and/or tertiary.
“The data from this report is very timely as it reaffirms what we know about the importance of independence amongst Gen Z and Gen Y, while also revealing that their need to protect their own health and safety supersedes that of having children for the majority of them,” remarked Jackie Hernández, co-founder of New Majority Ready.
Another major driver of population growth is immigration. The share of U.S. population growth attributed to immigration has, up until very recently, been steadily increasing since the 1940s.
Among Hispanic/Latin X youth, 45% of those who do not already have children report wanting to have kids in the future, pretty much on par with non-Hispanics. Hispanic youth also say that their most important relationship is the one that they have with themselves.
These findings suggest that there is more behind today’s declining birth rate than meets the eye, pointing to a much more fundamental shift in how young Americans compared to other generations before them are thinking about themselves, their relationships and their own identity.