US millennials opting to not have children, poll says. Here's why

With the birthrate dropping in the United States, millennials are opting not to have kids.

A 2021 poll by Pew Research found 44% of childless adults said they're unlikely to have children, up sharply from 37%.

Add to that the already established trend of families getting smaller – so even when women are having kids, they're having fewer of them.


Gen Z, millennials are reluctant to become parents

Gen Z and millennial Americans cite overwhelming student debt, the climate crisis, and low salaries as reasons they're not looking to have kids. How much has this driven down the birth rate in the U.S.?

While unmarried individuals are less likely to have kids, an analysis of recent census surveys found both married and unmarried Americans are shifting toward being childless in the millennial era.

Some researchers point to an economic climate defined by hardships, a Great Recession and soaring student debts – while home prices are skyrocketing.

But while some experts said the economic factors are profound, they also said the number one factor that influences how a generation decides to have children is how they themselves were raised.

"Millennials and millennial women are rebelling against their Gen-X and baby boomer parents who, in instance of the individual, maybe felt like their parent wasn't really there for them," said Gabrielle Bosché, CEO of the Millennial Solution. "Maybe they weren't there for the soccer practices or the dance recitals, and so millennial women could be choosing their career now, so that they can choose their family later.

Advances in medical technology are giving women more control over having children later in life, if they choose to. 


Survey: Gen Z, millennial couples say it's too expensive to get married

More Gen Z and millennials are saying "I do…not."

But with the upper end of the millennial generation in their 40s now, time may be running out when it comes to reversing the childless trend.

Some experts said other technologies, like dating apps, are making it harder for millennials to commit.

"Many millennials have been labeled the afraid to commit generation," Bosché said.

On the upside, it's a generation that's being really intentional with who they spend their life with, before they get to the next question of whether they start a family or not.