Why Millennial Don’t Want Children During The Pandemic
Author: Aina Safuan
Editor: Izzati Azali
Source: Google Image
People who were born from 1981 until 1995 are currently juggling between life and work with a lot of other responsibilities. According to Morning Consult, 15% of millennials say they are less interested in having children because of the coronavirus pandemic and nearly 3 in 5 childless millennials say the reason they don’t have kids is because it is too expensive to raise them. Pandemic has claimed the lives, hopes, and dreams of people all across the world. Being a part of a generation where getting sick terrifies people and there are no social contacts has been difficult for everyone, especially millennials.
Millennials have put off significant life milestones like having children because they are still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis. Now, as a result of the coronavirus and yet another economic downturn, a large portion of this generation is less likely to establish a family, raising fears among some economists of a baby bust with far-reaching economic ramifications. According to a new Morning Consult study, 17 percent of 572 millennials (those between the ages of 24 and 39) who don't have children said they would delay having kids even longer because of the pandemic, and 15% said they are less interested in having children altogether because of COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, only 7% of this group stated they are more interested in having children.
“The most unromantic side of fertility is that it's really substantially driven by economics,” said Dr. Hannes Schwandt, an economics professor at Northwestern University who studies economic shocks and fertility. The studies detect enduring effects in women in their early 20s who are affected by recessions, which usually expand with time. This pandemic is undoubtedly bad news for millennials. This pandemic implies that the baby bust is appearing less like a blip and more like a lasting trend for many millennials, especially the older ones. “The economic harm that a recession causes to workers tends to be long-term,” Dr. Phillip Levine from Wellesley College majoring in economics added. Moreover, it could take a long time for laid-off individuals to find new jobs, and those new jobs are likely to pay significantly less than their previous ones. People take years to recuperate and this isn't something we'll be able to get out of quickly.
This moment of economic turmoil is detrimental for everyone, especially those planning to establish a family, according to Schwandt. This time around, millennial working women of childbearing age are the most affected, he added, with child care responsibilities shifting from school to home and several fields that employ significant numbers of women, such as hospitality, travel, and education, being among the most impacted. In addition to that, because women bear a greater share of the child-care burden during the pandemic, it is a higher long-term opportunity cost for them to leave the workforce and try to re-enter it when the labour market's future is so uncertain. Having a child might seem beautiful to most people who are stable and privileged but those who are living on a daily basis chose to focus on having stability and balance during their current situation before jumping into having babies.
Pressure to make perfect life choices
According to data from the Urban Institute, birth rates among 20-something women declined 15% between 2007 and 2012. People who don't wish to have children are frequently labelled as "selfish," however they are anything other than selfish. At the very least, research studies say that being a good parent entails continuously prioritising the kid and making healthy choices for them, and millennials believe they are not up to the task yet. Being excellent parents does not imply that they do not make mistakes in their child-rearing methods; nevertheless, the children did not choose to be born into a substandard situation, where the parents might have made better judgments about whether or not they were ready to have children. Sometimes deciding not to be a parent is as easy as not wanting to expose a child to the world of bad people. Many people don't want their children to have to cope with the world's issues, citing causes such as global inequality, bullying, and overall dissatisfaction with society. Parents have a tendency to blame themselves for events that occur in their children's lives, which may threaten their children's mental health.
Some older millennials' desire to have children may be put to rest as a result of the pandemic. However, individuals who have waited and still want children may have to pay more for infertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, and even medical costs for high-risk pregnancies. In many cases, this is due to the global health and economic crises, which has reduced access to health care, raised concerns about pregnancy risks, increased stress, and created mental and emotional obstacles, making it difficult to start a family.