Less than a fifth of millennials between the ages of 26 and 35 definitely want children, a new survey has revealed.
And, this number only falls further among those with strong environmental concerns.
Researchers from the University of Southampton and the Generations and Gender Programme collected data on attitudes towards children, families, and various political issues from a sample of 7,000 people aged 18 – 59 in the UK.
They discovered that, in line with the country’s falling birth rates, there has been a decrease in young adults who intend to have children.
Just 19 percent of younger millennials (those aged 26 – 25) said they definitely want a child, and only 30 percent said they probably want a child.
Thirty-six percent of older millennials (those aged 36 – 41) said they definitely will not have a child, and 20 percent said they probably will not.
The percentage of millennials who do not want children only rises among those with stronger environmental concerns.
The case was different for Gen Z (aged 18 to 24), with data showing that those who are more likely to want a child are also more concerned about the environment and climate change.
Professor Brienna Perelli-Harris, who led the study, explained: “Whilst we found that environmental concerns are a factor for older millennials intending to remain childless, our study suggests this isn’t the case for Gen Z.
“This may be because some younger people do not intend to have children for other reasons, or it could be that Gen Zers who would like to have children are more worried about the planet that their children will inherit.”
However, the number of Gen Zers who want children is still declining when compared to previous generations.
Fifteen percent of Gen Zers said they definitely do not want a child, in contrast with between 10 and 15 percent of people who were the same age between 2005 and 2007.
Meanwhile, a further 11 percent of Gen Zers said they will probably not have a child, while 22 percent said they were unsure.
This, the study said, means birth rates in the UK may continue to fall.
Professor Perelli-Harris said: “More young adults planning to remain childless suggests the recent decline in fertility rates at young ages isn’t just about individuals delaying parenthood until they are older.
“Instead, it suggests a growing trend of individuals intending not to have children.
“If this is the case, then we can expect UK birth rates to decline further from their current level.”
The study, which is being presented today at a meeting in London, also explored a challenge faced by those who do decide to have children – namely, high childcare costs.
They found that parents on average spend £560 a month on childcare.
A quarter pay over £800, and 15 percent pay over £1,000.
Lower-income households fork out between 20 and 30 percent of their income on childcare – a larger proportion than higher-income households, who spend around 10 percent of their salary.
The survey also revealed that a fifth of parents only used formal childcare, such as nurseries, while a quarter relied exclusively on help from parents, relatives, or friends.
A third of parents do not use any formal childcare at all – something which was most common among those on the lowest incomes.
Higher-income families were most likely to exclusively use formal childcare, while middle-income families were most likely to rely on a combination of formal and informal.
Survey co-leader Dr. Bernice Kuang said: “Our findings suggest a lack of affordability may be stopping low-income families from using childcare services, and at the same time, preventing parents from working more hours.
“So-called ‘early years care deserts’ in disadvantaged areas may also restrict access to high-quality childcare.
“This is particularly concerning given that disadvantaged children and children with special educational needs benefit from exposure to the early year’s curriculum, resources, and the socialization available in formal childcare settings.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.