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americans not having kids

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“When are you having kids?” That’s a question you might be asked a lot if you haven’t procreated yet and happen to be married. Maybe the question annoys you. Why is everyone so concerned with whether or not you’ll add little humans to this planet? I’ll admit that I even ask the question of friends often. Personally, I ask because I wonder – being someone who isn’t having kids – how long this blissful child-free phase of our friendship will last. I know once my friends have kids, it will be harder to carry on the way we do. And that’s okay. I want my friends to do whatever makes them happy, but I’d like to have time to emotionally prepare if my BFF is going to be MIA to be on mommy duty. There is one subtle difference you may not have picked up on though, surrounding future parenting questions. People are now asking if you’re having kids, and not when you’re having kids.

It seems like people are backing away from the assumption that you are, without a doubt, having children. And that’s refreshing. Any time someone asks when you’ll do anything (buy a house, find a man, switch cable service providers) there is the implication that that’s just what you do, and you’re put in an uncomfortable position if that’s not what you planned on doing. Perhaps people are picking up on the stats about millennials having less children. Millennial women and men are, in fact, less likely to have children than previous generations. Some call it selfish (like the pope…and my mom), but have they considered our reasons? They’re pretty valid. Here are compelling reasons a number of millennials aren’t having kids.


americans not having kids

Source: Catherine McQueen / Getty

People aren’t getting raises

A 2019 survey found that about half of American workers received no pay raise that year. Another study found that many employers are opting for bonuses instead of wage increases, afraid to increase base pay because, once they do so, they can’t take it back down. A bonus is a non-committal way of rewarding employees for their hard work, without making long-term commitments for better pay. Here’s the problem: if we can’t rely on consistent raises and/or only see these one-off bonuses, how are we supposed to plan for our futures? How are we to make calculations about what we can afford (like, you know, a family) if raises just aren’t happening?

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