America’s Fertility Dilemma by Lois M. Collins
Research suggests that falling fertility in the U.S. is not tied to demographics, economics or policy. But the impact could hit all three
April 29, 2022
The U.S. birthrate keeps hitting new lows. While an average of 2.1 births per women of childbearing age is considered the replacement rate that would keep the population stable, America is now well below that, at an average of 1.6 children each.
And the desire to have children has also fallen, according to a new research brief for the Institute for Family Studies. Today, nearly 1 in 4 childless adults says “No thanks.”
In (Link, off site, PDF): “No Honey, No Baby: The Relational and Economic Factors Associated With Having Children in America,” Wendy Wang, the institute’s director of research, looks for an explanation of a trend that now seems to buck some of the usual suspects: demographics, economics and family-friendly policy. Her research suggests a lot of separate factors are mingling to lead many young American adults to say “I don’t” to marriage and raising families.
“The decline of marriage goes hand in hand with falling fertility rates, simply because married women have a much higher fertility rate than unmarried women,” Wang writes, noting research by demographer Lyman Stone that shows about half the decline in fertility since 2008 tracks with a much lower marriage rate.
… A summer 2021 survey by YouGov for the institute and BYU’s Wheatley Institution found the biggest drag on reaching desired fertility is the hunt for the right spouse or partner. That led the list of reasons people weren’t reaching their desired fertility, at 44% — and was even higher among childless adults — followed by 36% who said they couldn’t afford children, and 25% who said lifestyle or career were barriers.
… And yet the birthrate continues to fall.
Their research dismisses some suspects. They said effective contraception, the high cost of raising kids, more women in satisfying careers and lots of student debt didn’t prove to play a significant role in their findings.
Wang found another trend that’s shifted a lot when it comes to falling birthrates: an education divide.
“People with a college degree are less likely to be in this group. This reminds me of the ‘marriage divide,’ where college graduates are more likely to be married than non-college grads. What we see is that college-educated adults are not only more likely to be married, but also to have children. This is a new phenomenon given that traditionally college-educated Americans have been the group with fewer children or no children, compared with the working-class Americans,” Wang told the Deseret News.
Wang’s survey highlighted other findings regarding fertility.
Many who want children but haven’t found the right partner say they won’t have children unless they do, at 58%.
The other 42% said they might have children on their own if they don’t find the right partner.
Close to 1 in 4 adults who don’t have children say they don’t want to have a child.
by L. Blair
May 6, 2022
The United States might have hit its lowest marriage rate in more than 100 years in 2020, but the popularity of reality television shows such as “Married at First Sight” and new research show that it’s not a lack of desire among adults to get married that is causing the slump, but a struggle among many to find the right partner. And this struggle could put the nation at risk in the long run.
New data show that a decline in the marriage rate goes hand in hand with a decline in the fertility rate. Researchers are now warning that without appropriate interventions, a continuous slide in the nation’s fertility rate will lead to the aging and shrinking of the U.S. population, a decline in productivity and instability in financing old-age programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“When fewer women are married, fewer babies are born. In fact, about half of the decline in fertility since 2008 can be attributed to changes in marital composition, according to an analysis by Lyman Stone,” Wendy Wang, director of research at the Institute for Family Studies, said in the recently published research brief.
…According to data cited in Wang’s brief, marriage significantly impacts fertility rates because women who are married have a higher fertility rate than unmarried ones. In 2020, for example, the birth rate for married women was 81 per 1,000 between the ages of 15-44. It was just 39 per 1,000 for unmarried women of the same age.
…However, a YouGov survey by the IFS and the Wheatley Institution shows that the top reason people cite for not having the number of children they desire is, “I am still looking for the right spouse/partner.”
(Link): How American Christians Were Influenced by 1950s American Secular Propaganda to Idolize Marriage and Children and Against Singles and the Childless -and how over-emphasis on “family” and lack of respect for singleness started a backlash against both – [both = marriage, having kids] (excerpts from ‘Pornland’ book)