By Shaan Khan
A recent report from The Guardian that’s captured many people’s attention, was that more than half of women in the UK born in 1990 had no children by the age of 30—this lack of births is at its highest since the 40s after world war 2.
Birth rates are declining all over the Western world, with America’s rates at a record low as well amongst those between ages 18-30.
The arguments why this is happening is themed around cultural shifts. One of the most recent has been the nature of social isolation that has arisen from COVID-19, where mingling at public spaces has been prohibited or institutionally suppressed. This sets an ominous precedence to the future of the already declining birth rates, but here are the leading causes stunting growth that have occurred over the years.
Cost of Living
The middle-class family lifestyle of the 20th century is far more unattainable than ever before in these past two decades, with housing prices shooting through the roof, higher education becoming increasingly expensive and the rise in salary rates just aren’t high enough to keep up with the increased value in commodities.
Believe it or not, while some individuals would like to name these women as selfish for not having children, this is far from the truth with women wanting to make a sensible decision to have children when they’re financially stable.
While many women grow up in the education system and have higher education promoted to them so they one day could settle down stably with a family, most of us did not expect that even graduate jobs can’t keep up with the current cost of living that just keeps going up.
Female Empowerment & Independence (Careers and Business)
We no longer live in a time where women are solely designated the role of housewife, where the husband earns the money and the wife stays at home tending to the cleaning, cooking and taking care of the children.
This former tradition had begun to fall apart after World War 2, where many nations threw themselves in significant debt, such as the United States, whose debt continues to increase, currently standing at a whopping $27.7 trillion USD, which is $5 trillion USD higher than the nation’s 2019 debt.
So it’s no wonder why the cost of living continues to rise and having both a husband-and-wife work jobs or run a business gives them a better chance at securing the financial stability to start a family.
Women also obviously have passions for certain trades and talents they want to pursue for a career or business, and this takes dedication that goes beyond education, where women have to undergo internships, multiple jobs at a time and rise the ranks of low paid jobs within their career bracket to reach a position they desire.
Sadly, these processes are lengthy, usually eating up an adult’s entire 20s before they reach a position they are comfortable with, and the process only grows longer with having to save up more money than before and going up against a greater pool of competition fighting for higher earnings above the average population.
Declining Marriage Rates
Marriage rates are at their lowest in the U.S., which is significant considering the data has compared the entire marriage rates recorded by the U.S. government since 1867.
What’s more surprising about this information is that the U.S. population is much higher than it was decades ago. But as touched upon, society is now full of distractions that makes us not prioritise marriage. We first focus on education, then career and business.
The second set of distractions are consumption, becoming zombies chained to our tech, media and snacks—where short term gratification is becoming more valued than long-term, meaningful fulfilments such as marriage.
Bio: Shaan Khan is the Author of ‘Red Scales’, a mystery thriller novel available on Amazon.com, and a Freelance Content Writer that creates blog articles on almost anything—including Entertainment, Technology, Socioeconomics and Gaming!
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