I still remember the day both of my children were old enough to start school. It was like getting the biggest raise ever.
Why? Daycare. We had two kids going to daycare and it cost hundreds a week, even in the mid-90s. That was a ton of money for a journalist and a teacher to afford.
And it has only gotten worse. The cost of childcare has actually risen quickly over the last couple of years. Some families, I have read, are paying more than 20 percent of their household income on childcare.
I don’t care who you are, that is expensive.
That is one reason why many younger people, Generation Z and Millennials, are choosing to not have children. I, for one, can’t blame them.
In 2020, the birth rate fell 4 percent, which was the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years. That might not seem like a lot, but over the years it is a lot fewer babies being born.
There will always be people who want to have babies and a lot of them. Often, the reason is religious. Or people just want to have babies. There is nothing wrong with that.
But there is also nothing wrong with not wanting to have children, and the number choosing not to is growing steadily. Even people who are choosing to have children are not having as many, maybe just one or two.
Childcare costs are just one part of the reason many are choosing to not have children. Many younger couples are both professionals who are career oriented and a kid just doesn’t fit in with their plans. That is something we have seen in society for years.
But something that many people mention in the materials I have read is the current state of the world. Who would want to bring a child into a world of raging anger and violence? Seriously, look at the signs some people have displayed at their homes. Do you want your impressionable children exposed to that? Do you want the rantings and ravings of people everywhere from social media to the grocery store to be in your kid’s face daily?
Many people don’t, and it is it hard to blame them. Our country is a cesspool of division right now, and I can only see it getting worse.
There is also the planet itself, which we are slowly killing. Man has done a lot of damage to the planet and environment. And with climate change, the future is simply not looking that great. Heat, yes, but also more storms and floods. There are a lot of unknowns, so why risk bringing a child into it, some might ask.
And if that child gets sick? Well, get ready for the bills to pile up. As we know, the healthcare system in the U.S. is difficult to navigate and very, very expensive. A struggling young family might not be able to afford simple medications.
Most developed countries in the world have universal healthcare, but we do not. We do it the old-fashioned way – make people broke trying to stay healthy. Even those with good medical insurance take to social media for GoFundMe money. It is pathetic we have to do that in this country.
Finally, some people just don’t like kids. And that number also seems to be growing. Look, I love my kids (especially now that they are adults), but they can be gross little things. That is fine for most people, me included, but not for everyone.
Let’s face it, kids can be whiny, needy little balls of difficulty. Not everyone wants to deal with that. I get it.
We are in no danger of people stopping having children all together, of course. But a slowdown will be felt at schools, in taxes collected and fewer screaming kids at local restaurants to ruin your meal.
Hey, I think I just found the silver lining.