Gen Z and Having Children


We’ve all seen the headlines: the birth rate in the U.S. is declining. Since 2007, the birth rate has decreased by 20 percent. Prior to the Great Recession, the birth rate tended to rise and fall with the prosperity of the economy. But since then, it has just declined. So what changed?


Generation Z, the group of people born between 1997 and 2012, might be to blame. With female labor force participation being at an all-time high, the current largest generation in the United States is choosing to have fewer children.


According to Forbes, a recent survey of over 1,000 Generation Z members found that 27% do not want to have children. Among the women in this demographic, 89% stated that they don’t want to have kids because they enjoy having flexibility in their daily schedule, while 70% stated that they valued having alone time. 66% stated that they wished to have good mental health, and that they felt that children could potentially disrupt this.


Even among women who already have children, Generation Z is still the least likely to say that they want to have more kids. According to the 2022 Motherly State of Motherhood survey, 27% of Generation Z moms are unsure if they want more kids. Many of them feel suffocated by the struggles of balancing motherhood and their career.


While a temporary decline in the birth rate may not have many social or economic consequences, a sustained one, as seen in the U.S., could lead to a smaller workforce and an older population overall. This could lead to a decrease in both economic productivity and per capita income growth. In addition, Social Security could face significant monetary struggles.  Younger workers pay taxes in order to fund this program, and with a decreased younger workforce, the program, which typically benefits elders and retirees, could struggle to maintain itself. However, many point out the benefits of a smaller population, including the possibility of reducing the human carbon footprint, therefore having positive environmental effects.


So what’s the verdict? What will the future look like in a world with less children?


For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.