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Is ‘Climate Anxiety’ Giving Birth to the ‘Baby Doomers’ Era?

Is 'Climate Anxiety' Giving Birth to the 'Baby Doomers' Era?

A fresh breeze is blowing through Gen Z’s approach to family planning. Economic, social, and personal factors are at play, but an intriguing twist emerges – “climate anxiety.” Join us to uncover how the climate crisis is reshaping Gen Z’s life choices.

The Growing Trend

A notable trend among Gen Z is delaying or opting out of marriage and parenthood. In 1980, only 6% of 40-year-olds had never married, compared to a staggering 25% today, according to Pew Research. Among those aged 18 to 49, 44% express doubts about ever having children. The reasons vary, with 17% citing the high cost of childcare, 19% mentioning medical concerns, and 56% simply not wanting children.

Climate Anxiety as a Factor

Gen Z’s concerns go beyond traditional reasons. A 2019 poll by Pew Research found that 5% of respondents believed climate change anxiety was influencing the decision to remain childless. This concern, echoed by figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stems from the belief that the planet’s future may be bleak for the next generation due to climate change.

Dwindling Birth Rates

These shifting perspectives have contributed to a sharp decline in birth rates. Census Bureau data reveals that the U.S. population grew by a mere 0.4% in 2022, the lowest increase in a century. Fertility rates have plummeted from more than three children per woman in 1960 to just 1.65 in 2021. This decline accelerates economic challenges.

Economic Implications

As baby boomers retire and exit the workforce, the need for younger workers becomes critical to sustain the economy. Fewer births mean fewer working-age individuals to support the growing aging population. This imbalance could lead to reduced economic output, lower living standards, and additional strain on systems like Social Security, which is projected to face insolvency in under a decade.

The Role of "Climate Anxiety"

Vice President Kamala Harris introduced the term “climate anxiety” to describe the fears and uncertainties young people face about their future due to climate change. However, critics argue that it oversimplifies the complex factors influencing family planning decisions, including economic realities like rising mortgage rates.

Conclusion

Climate anxiety adds a unique piece to the puzzle of Gen Z’s family planning. Yet, it’s not alone. Economic, social, and personal factors complete this mosaic. Let’s embrace these dynamics, shaping a future where your voice is heard and dreams are realized.

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