Speed Reads


A startling number of Americans are citing 'domestic politics' as a reason for not having children

A startling number of Americans report that they are not having children because of fears about "global instability" and "domestic politics," a New York Times/Morning Consult survey of 1,858 men and women between the ages of 20 and 45 has found. While the overwhelming reason why the United States had a record low number of births last year was because of various economic anxieties, 37 percent of Americans said they have had or expect to have "fewer children than they considered ideal" specifically because of "global instability," while 36 percent cited "domestic politics."

Another group of young adults who said they didn't want children or weren't sure about having children also cited concerns about the world around them: 18 percent said global instability, and 10 percent cited domestic politics. Another 11 percent voiced climate change as a reason for questioning having children.

Would-be mothers who have decided against having children in the Trump era told Vice last year that "getting pregnant would involve lying to ourselves." One 33-year-old black, biracial woman explained: "We had about a month of trying to get pregnant [in 2016]. When Trump got elected we both freaked out. We just lost our nerve."

There were just 60.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2017, a record low in the U.S. Total fertility is also below the replacement level of developed countries, 2.1 percent, down to 1.8 percent. See more of the results below, and read more analysis at The New York Times. Jeva Lange