- A 2021 CDC report found that The U.S. birth rate dropped to about 56 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, the lowest rate on record.
- As women are increasingly choosing to not have children, the outlook for the workforce and the economy is not a positive one.
- Countries need to have a birth rate of at least 2.1 children per woman to sustain the population and the economy. In the U.S. the average number currently stands at 1.7 children per woman.
Earlier this year, data from the United States Census Bureau revealed that during the last decade, the American population grew at the slowest rate since the 1930s.
For years now, the birth rate globally has been declining (mainly in well-developed countries). What does it mean for the future of work that women are deciding to not have children?
Study shows why women aren’t having children
The U.S. birthrate is on the decline. A 2021 government report found that “the U.S. birth rate fell 4% last year, the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.” The U.S. birth rate dropped about 56 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, the lowest rate on record.
The rate dropped for moms of every major race and ethnicity, and in nearly every age group, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago.”
So, what’s stopping women from starting a family?
Harmony Healthcare IT surveyed 1,000 women without children between the ages of 18 and 51 on the topic of motherhood and family planning.
The study revealed that women today are bombarded by societal pressures and career ambitions, general uncertainty about their maternal instincts, and financial security when it comes to having kids.
Top reasons why women don’t plan to have children
1. Financial reasons
2. Career ambitions
3. Impact on lifestyle
Findings from the study:
- 52% of surveyed women say they plan to have children
- 31% say they don’t plan to have children
- 17% said they were not sure
- 62% say the cost of raising a family is preventing them from starting one
- 31% of women report that their job is too demanding for children
Many people would argue right now that the world is overpopulated and does not need any more humans in it, but long-term this might affect work as well as the economy.
Is it good or bad that women aren’t having children?
For women, not having children would allow them to better focus on their careers and to save money.
For the future of the workforce and the economy, the outlook is not so positive. The economy will suffer due to a lack of consumers, and the workforce will dwindle.
The upcoming mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce, record-low participation in the labor force by American workers who are 25 to 54 years old, and the lowest birth rate in U.S. history is bound to greatly and negatively affect the workforce and the future of work.
As women are increasingly choosing to not have children, some societies have already seen the effects – such as a massive decline in the workforce. The best example is Japan.
Japan’s declining birth rate is impacting its workforce and economy
Analysts have long pointed toward the lack of support for working mothers in Japan, where there are strong expectations that women must do all the housework while also raising children alongside doing their jobs. It’s not surprising that these women are choosing to not have children.
In 2020, the country’s fertility rate (the expected number of births per woman) declined to 1.34 – among the lowest in the world.
The number of babies born in Japan fell to a record low last year because more couples are putting off or choosing to not start a family.
The number of births fell to 840,832 in 2020, down 2.8% from the year earlier and the lowest since records began in 1899, according to CNN.
The country’s total population stood at 124 million in 2018, but by 2065 it is expected to have dropped to about 88 million.
Younger generations of Japanese women have increasingly opted to continue working, rather than get married, have children, and give up their careers.
How can countries combat a shrinking workforce due to low birth rates?
- To combat a shrinking workforce, Japan is taking small steps to allow foreigners to come and work in the country.
- Japan also plans to boost its extremely low birth rate by funding artificial intelligence matchmaking schemes to help residents find a partner.
- Two-thirds of countries in Europe have introduced measures to increase fertility rates, such as baby bonuses and tax incentives to paid parental leave.
- Like Russia, Italy’s government tried its own financial incentives to encourage couples to have more children, such as an €800 payment per couple per birth. This did not lead to significant birth rate changes because it did not address social attitudes: Italy still has one of the lowest fertility rates in the EU, with 1.3 children per woman.
How much of an impact do women have on the future of work?
Countries need to have a birth rate of at least 2.1 children per woman to sustain the population, which inherently supports the economy and the workforce. The average number in Europe is about 1.59. In America, it’s 1.7 children per woman.
As countries gain access to better health care, education, and as their poverty rates decline, their total fertility rates also tend to decline. Women as a whole will determine the future – more specifically, the future of the workforce and the economy.