business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times has a story important to companies that depend on selling stuff to people, and that could suffer if there are fewer people to whom they can peddle their wares.

Women are delaying pregnancy.

"For decades, delaying parenthood was the domain of upper-middle-class Americans, especially in big, coastal cities," the Times writes.  "Highly educated women put off having a baby until their careers were on track, often until their early 30s. But over the past decade, as more women of all social classes have prioritized education and career, delaying childbearing has become a broad pattern among American women almost everywhere.

"The result has been the slowest growth of the American population since the 1930s, and a profound change in American motherhood. Women under 30 have become much less likely to have children. Since 2007, the birthrate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28 percent, and the biggest recent declines have been among unmarried women. The only age groups in which birthrates rose over that period were women in their 30s and 40s — but even those began to decline over the past three years."

The Times says that women that it interviewed in the subject "cited the costs of child care and housing, and sometimes student debt. Many also said they wanted to get their careers set first and expressed satisfaction that they were exerting control over their fertility — and their lives — in a way their mothers had not."

It also may be that a lot of women look at the challenges facing the world - the climate crisis, political upheaval, and income inequality among them - and wonder if it is a place into which they want to bring children.

And, the Times writes, there is another question still to be answered:   "Are young women delaying childbirth or forgoing it altogether?"

The answer to that question could be an Eye-Opener.