top of page
  • Writer's pictureEmpowered.Community

Why Young Adults Aren't Having Kids and How to Resolve Societal Impacts

Updated: Mar 13

Millennials and Gen Z are having fewer children compared to previous generations. The overall fertility rate in the US is below replacement level, meaning on average, enough children aren't being born to replace their parents. On average, younger adults are waiting until after age 28 to start families, compared to age 22 in the 1970s. Also, the percentage of people choosing to remain childless is increasing.


Two young adults sitting on a couch in deep thought. A shadow of a baby holding the father's hand is shown.

SOME FACTORS CAUSING THE DECLINE


  • Financial Concerns: The high cost of childcare, education, and housing makes raising children a significant financial burden.


  • Career Aspirations: Women are increasingly pursuing higher education and careers, which can compete with child-rearing priorities.


  • Work-Life Balance: Balancing work and family life is challenging, and younger generations are prioritizing self.


  • Environmental Concerns: Some individuals worry about the environmental impact of raising a larger family.


  • Changing Social Norms: The traditional idea of the "ideal" family size is evolving. Smaller families or child-free lifestyles are becoming more accepted.


IMPACTS TO COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY IF NOT ADDRESSED


  • Workforce: Labor shortages impact economic growth. Employers are compensating by increasing the use of automation and artificial intelligence. This response will further reduce the workforce, lower employee compensation, and impact retirees.


  • Social Security: Fewer workers paying into social security puts a strain on the system to support retirees.


  • Housing Market: Smaller families may reduce the demand for single-family homes.


  • Education: Fewer children could lead to school closures or a need to consolidate resources in the education system.


  • Innovation: A smaller pool of young minds could lead to a slowdown in innovation and new ideas.


  • Government Spending: The government might need to adjust spending on programs like childcare and education.


  • Family Structure: The overall young vs old dependency ratio may shift, impacting family dynamics and elder care needs.


  • Economic Dependence: With fewer children to contribute to the tax base and economy in the future, there could be a need to increase immigration or find alternative solutions to support an aging population. In Italy, some towns are now vacant, and their government is subsidizing foreigners to rebuild communities.


ACTIONS COMMUNITIES MAY CONSIDER

People stop having children when they are not hopeful about their future

Therefore, our communities need to remove barriers that are limiting young adults.


Education: The current generation is experiencing an educational burden that is 1100% more expensive than what the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) did, and this doesn't account for the room or board. Debt forgiveness doesn't address the root cause of higher educational institutions increasing fees beyond average affordability. We ask you to join us in advocating for free higher education based on performance to reward students willing to improve. This creates a sustainable return on investment. Aside from advocacy, community level action is needed to provide practical education (scholastic & vocational), realistic career planning, and mentoring so that young adults may become independent society contributors.


Novel Approach: Communities can offer its residence free education in exchange for 2-4 years of community service and contributions afterwards. This win-win concept gives young adults learning opportunities and skills development while providing their community resources to improve itself. While the details to be worked out are unique to each community, it can be a game changer that pays for itself. Empowered Community, Inc. welcomes meeting with local town councils to identify viable solutions.


Jobs: Outsourcing, technology, automation and artificial intelligence are reducing good paying jobs. For young adults to remain independent, they need to (1) become business owners, (2) work in vocational fields, or (3) control technology by becoming experts with a STEM background. We need to advocate for our children to be adequately prepared for life starting in grade school. When young adults enter the workforce and find out that their education did not give them the skills or knowledge to be independent, it's too late. Meanwhile, our communities need to supplement programs outside of schools and work with employers to give people internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing, and practical work experiences.


Housing: A significant portion of housing nowadays is being purchased by corporations, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and foreign entities. These for-profit enterprises exclude average Americans from purchasing homes and creating generational wealth. This is forcing more young adults to live with parents and be dependent. It's in communities' self-interest to set aside affordable housing to encourage family growth and ensure sustainability. We can advocate for that by working with local small government and businesses.


Socialization: Social skills are diminishing based on technological devices that encourage people to be online instead of in-person. Communities need to work with local businesses to organize events that make young people feel valued and part of a social group that encourages positive behaviors and relationships. We offer outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, concerts, arts, culture, tours, and other inclusive activities and encourage others to join or partner with us.


LEGAL IMMIGRATION (Complex solution to a declining U.S. population)


Our country was founded and thrived because of immigrants. It takes a rare person with the will and bravery to leave their home country to do whatever it takes to seek a better life for themselves and future generations. They bring skills, talents, and pride that homogeneously blends into our multifaceted nation. Furthermore, immigrants know they have to work hard in school and on the job, learn our language, develop new skills, and acclimate to a culture that is often less accepting of them. They do this to live the American dream.

Small Sampling of Immigrants that Made America Significantly Better


  • Science & Technology - Albert Einstein (Germany): Theory of relativity, modern physics, quantum mechanics - Marie Curie (Poland): Pioneered radioactivity, first woman to win a Nobel Prize - Alexander Graham Bell (Scotland): Invented the telephone - Wernher von Braun (Germany): Rocket scientist, helped develop US space program - Sergey Brin (Soviet Union): Google co-founder


  • Business & Industry - John Rockefeller (US-born from Germany): Standard Oil Company founder - Steve Jobs (US-born from Syria): Apple co-founder, revolutionized technology - Elon Musk (South Africa): Business magnate, engineer, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink

  • Arts & Culture - Madeleine Albright (Czechoslovakia): First female US Secretary of State - Gloria Estefan (Cuba): Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter - Lin-Manuel Miranda (US-born from Puerto Rico): Composer, lyricist, actor, playwright

Benefits from Legal Immigration:


  • Workforce Growth: Immigration can introduce new workers into the labor force, offsetting the decline caused by fewer births. This can help maintain economic growth and address potential labor shortages in specific sectors.

  • Demographic Diversity: Increased immigration fosters a more diverse population, bringing new skills, ideas, and cultural perspectives that can benefit businesses and society as a whole. Immigrants are often willing to work jobs most Americans refuse.

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Immigrants often have high rates of entrepreneurship, starting businesses and creating jobs. Their diverse backgrounds can also spark innovation and economic dynamism.

  • Fiscal Benefits: Young, working immigrants contribute to Social Security and Medicare programs, helping to sustain these systems for future generations.


Considerations and Complexities:


  • Skill Levels: The impact of immigration on the workforce depends on the skill levels of immigrants. High-skilled immigrants can significantly benefit the economy.

  • Integration Policies: Effective integration policies can help immigrants learn English, adapt to American culture, and find jobs that utilize their skills.

  • Enforcement: Debates exist regarding the level of enforcement of immigration laws, with some advocating for stricter measures and others for paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

  • Political Landscape: Immigration policy is a hot-button political issue, with strong opinions on both sides. Finding a balance between economic needs, humanitarian concerns, and national security considerations is complex.

  • Other Thoughts: Timely legal immigration is a needed solution to address our workforce shortage; however, it's not a simple fix. Carefully designed policies that consider skill levels, integration strategies, and enforcement can maximize the benefits. Ultimately, immigration reform requires a nuanced approach that addresses both economic and social concerns. Our local communities have the best chance of making this work. Decisions tend to be flexible and faster since fewer government leaders are involved and local community benefits are prioritized.


MILITARY SERVICE (Potential benefits if done with care)


Israel, South Korea, and Singapore have mandatory conscription for a period ranging from 1.5 to 2 years. If the U.S. adopted this concept, but for non-combat activities, it can address some of the barriers young adults are facing.


Potential Merits:


  • Skills Development: The military provides training and opportunities to acquire valuable skills like teamwork, discipline, leadership, and technical expertise. These can be beneficial in future careers.

  • Educational Opportunities: Some militaries offer educational assistance programs or GI Bill benefits after service, aiding higher education pursuits.

  • Financial Support: Military service often provides a steady income, housing, and healthcare, potentially easing financial burdens faced by young adults.

  • Socialization and Civic Engagement: Military service fosters a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, potentially promoting social cohesion and civic responsibility.


CONCLUSION


There's no perfect or one-size-fits-all solution. However, we know that for our country to be sustainable, things have to change. We offer our community based ideas and assistance in order to generate discussion and make a difference.


Contact Us to effectively share your thoughts on helping young adults. Check out our programs and various ways to get involved.

Comments


bottom of page