Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is always here to break down complex ideas into digestible ones for constituents. A true public servant, AOC highlighted why millennials aren’t having children in a single tweet. However, while millennials might be the first generation in the United States with a lower birth rate, fertility rates around the world have been steadily dropping.
It’s no surprise, in a modern world where information is accessible and social services are not, having children is a much easier decision than bringing a child into an unstable world. Population decline has pros and cons. With increasing concerns about water, land, and food scarcity caused by climate change, fewer resources require fewer people in need. Nevertheless, civilizations are meant to proliferate in order to function. Fewer births mean a smaller labor force to ensure the society operates healthily. Moreover, when less young people are able to contribute to social services for the elderly, like Medicare, they suffer as well.
Now you might be able to see how a simple issue of fewer people having babies, can have a negative domino effect with serious economic implications. Countries like Japan, where birth rates have declined to reach new lows, are already experiencing similar effects. While we each have a right to decide if we have kids or don’t, it is clear that if people were inclined to believe their children might have a future better than theirs, they might choose differently.
AOC reveals why millennials don’t have children.
“When people chastise millennials for not having or delaying starting their families after growing up in a recession, here’s one big reason why,” AOC said in reference to Washington Post opinion writer Elizabeth Bruening’s near $8,000 medical bill after giving birth. This was the cost after insurance.
Meanwhile, 40 percent of Americans don’t have more than $400 in their savings account, how can anyone be expected to pay for such a massive expense with or without health insurance? This, of course, doesn’t include the cost of childcare, and the loss of income most women who have children experience after taking leave from the workforce.
Childcare is too expensive.
TheNew York Times surveyed 1,858 men and women millennials between the ages of 20 and 45. When asked why they are delaying having children or not having children at all, 64 percent said childcare is too expensive, 44 percent said they can’t afford to have more children, and 43 percent financial instability was the cause. All of these reasons are related to money. Moreover, Pew Research has connected lower fertility rates to a poor economy since the 2008 recession.
The world’s population is expected to nearly stop growing.
According to Pew Research, the world’s population is expected to nearly stop growing by the year 2100. This is the first time such a thing has happened in modern history. The population is expected to reach roughly 10.9 billion by the end of the century, but annual growth is expected to be 0.1 percent, a huge decline. Since 1950 the population has increased between 1 percent and 2 percent — that’s 2.5 billion more people.
Immigration has often been a remedy for declining populations. But we live in a time where xenophobia is heightened, and even citizens don’t get to live out the so-called “American dream.”
In the future, everyone is a senior citizen.
“Between 2020 and 2100, the number of people ages 80 and older is expected to increase from 146 million to 881 million,” according to the United Nations’ 2019 World Populations report. “Starting in 2073, there are projected to be more people ages 65 and older than under age 15 – the first time this will be the case.”
This is not good. When one age group becomes the dominant culture it can have a stronghold on the direction of that society. Consider the fact that the reason why our political landscape looks the way it has (bad) for so long is because the Baby Boomer generation has been the largest voting bloc up until 2018 (any coincidence that’s when the Blue Wave happened?), thus it is their values, priorities, and beliefs that are best represented in the United States.
“The Latin America and Caribbean region is expected to have the oldest population of any world region by 2100, a reversal from the 20th century,” according to the UN report.
While we all get older, progress is often instigated by younger generations. This is why Republicans fear college campuses. Without young people to steer us away from unhealthy traditions and values, what will become of us? These are structural issues the government must repair. So if you want to solidify a future for your child or future child, in 2020 vote for a candidate who makes children a priority. (Spoiler: that candidate probably won’t belong to the party that lets little children die in cages.)