Australia’s birth rate has fallen 1.3 per cent in the past year alone, with no signs of stopping as many young people are no longer interested in having children.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that the rate of women giving birth has dropped from 66 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 56 per 1,000 women in 2020. But why don’t young people want children anymore?
Many Millennials are delaying parenthood, or outright refusing, due to several factors the Baby Boomers and Generation X didn’t have to face.
Dr Jordan McKenzie, senior lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong, described the future of parenting as a difficult decision.
“How we might feel in the future shapes how we feel in the present and has real-world consequences on ethical and cultural decisions we make,” Dr McKenzie said.
“If you look at Australia and ask why are people not having kids I actually don’t think climate anxiety is the first reason, or even maybe the second or third reason. Like housing affordability, job uncertainty, the fact that like you can’t live on a single income for years while one partner takes time off of work and raises three kids.”
Millennials are struggling with the ethical decision of bringing children into the world. The cost-of-living crisis is perhaps the key reason people aren’t having children as they’re spending more on food, housing, bills, and fuel.
The pattern continues and it’s predicted that Gen Z will be following in their footsteps unless things start looking up. After seeing how Millennial parents struggle in the current climate, Gen Z kids are considering postponing parenthood.
Dr McKenzie is currently researching climate-related anxiety, and you can hear more about its impacts on parenting below.