The birth rate has been dropping for years, leading some experts to sound the alarm over the decline. Fewer births are happening across all demographics, from teens to women in their 20's and 30's. The decline between 2016 and 2017 was the biggest single-year drop since 2010. There are lots of possible reasons for the change, but one of them may have to do with family size. As it turns out, young people today just don't want as many kids as their parents had, and the ideal family size is much smaller than it was in past generations. Research shows that the ideal family size is now two kids, down from three in the 1970's and four in the 1930's.
According to a new Morning Consult survey published in The New York Times, about half of young Americans simply don't want the big family previous generations aspired to have. 1.858 men and women between the ages of 20 - 45 responded to the nationally representative survey. More than half of the respondents said they planned to have fewer children than their parents. About half of the respondents already had kids; 42% said they wanted children, while 34% said they weren't sure, and 24% said they did not have plans to have kids.
The respondents who had or expected to have fewer children than the "ideal" also answered questions about what concerns shaped their fertility decisions. And honestly, they're all valid. A whopping 64% said that the cost of childcare impacted how many children they wanted to have. Childcare is almost prohibitively expensive for so many Americans, and the costs only go up the more children you have. 54% said they wanted to be able to spend more time with the kids they already had, and 49% said that worries about the economy kept them from having more kids. The lack of paid family leave was a reason for 38% of respondents, while not having enough paid family time was cited by 39%.
It's pretty safe to say that there is no "ideal" family size. So many factors impact how many children we have, from finances to instability in the world, and concern for the environment. Every person is different, and the only ideal family size is the one that works for you.