Millennials Are Having Less Sex and Birth Rates Are Dropping
This could mean bad things down the line for the United States population and economy
By now we’ve all heard the alarm bell that millennials are having less sex. While some have attributed the so-called “sex drought” to everything from phone use to the breakneck pace of modern life, it remains unclear what exactly is causing the drop in sexual activity. Whatever the cause, one tell-tale effect is slowly starting to reveal itself: lower birth rates.
Between 2017 and 2018, the birth rate in the United States dropped 2 percent. While that may not sound like a major decrease, that drop led to a the lowest number of births in the country in 32 years.
While that may be due, in part, to the growing sexlessness among millennials — at least 25 percent of those under 30 didn’t have sex in the last year, according to the 2018 General Social Survey from NORC at the University of Chicago — even those millennials who are still getting busy are often foregoing or postponing parenthood. According to NPR, this may be due to shifting attitudes among millennials who are prioritizing careers and financial stability. One married 30-year-old told the outlet that while she had once envisioned both “a fully formed professional life and a fully formed family life,” the latter had “gone by the wayside” in favor of focusing on her career.
According to Jennifer Glass, a demographer at the University of Texas at Austin, a possible solution could come in the form of better family leave policies that would allow prospective parents to have children without sacrificing their professional and financial goals. “A policy that gives you four to six months, almost completely paid, and is available to both partners,” could encourage more millennials to become parents, she told NPR.
Another fix, according to some experts, could come in the form of immigration. While low birth rates could have negative implications for the U.S. population and economy, immigration could help close some of those gaps. “We should not worry about the birthrate in the United States,” Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, told NPR. “If we want to let those people come to this country, we can solve any problem you can think of related to population size.”
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