Survey: More Americans Say They Don’t Want Children

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More U.S. adults say they don’t want to have kids. Forty-four percent of adults younger than 50 who don’t have children said they either weren’t likely or were “not at all likely” to have children one day, according to a new Pew Research Center survey in October. That is up from 37% in 2018.

“Among parents and non-parents alike, men and women are equally likely to say they will probably not have kids (or more kids) in the future,” the report notes.

Since the 2008 recession, birth rates in the U.S. have plummeted. The birth rate hit an all-time low in 2020. Pandemic-related economic uncertainty is likely behind the latest decline, economists told MarketWatch. A survey from One Morning Consult conducted in September 2020 of 572 millennials found that 15% of respondents were less interested in having kids due to the pandemic, and 17% said they would further delay having kids because of it. The expense of raising children also is a growing concern expressed by millennial non-parents.

In a blog post this fall on the National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog, Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, wrote that the lower birth rates could have a future impact on housing demand. Having a baby is often a leading housing decision, prompting new families to buy a home or to desire a larger home, Lautz notes.

The decline in childbirth is already coinciding with fewer home buyers with children in the home. In 1985, 58% of buyers had children under the age of 18. That percentage has since fallen to 33%, Lautz notes.