Child-free generation? 1 in 4 young adults already ruling out having kids

LONDON — Only half of Gen Z and millennial adults plan to start a family, as financial pressures and global anxieties continue to deter young adults from having children, a new survey reveals. The research, which polled 1,000 British adults between 18 and 34 who haven’t yet started a family, also found that one in four respondents have already decided against having a baby ever.

Only 55 percent of participants say they plan to have children in the future, while 20 percent are unsure. The most common reason, given by 49 percent of respondents, was their desire to focus more on themselves. Financial issues followed closely, cited by 47 percent, and fears about the state of the world were raised by 38 percent of the participants.

Environmental concerns associated with having children troubled 35 percent of respondents, while career aspirations and existing health issues influenced the decision of 28 and 22 percent of young adults, respectively.

Despite these findings, 71 percent of young adults felt societal pressure to have children, with 40 percent experiencing this pressure directly from family members. Mothers (68%) were the most likely to apply this pressure, followed by grandmothers and fathers.

“For generations, having children has just been the done thing, but it seems younger people are now deciding against this more and more,” a spokesperson for research agency OnePoll, which commissioned the study, says in a statement.

“Not only are finances squeezed more than ever, but young adults are becoming more aware of the impact on society and the environment. But the societal expectation is still there, and for most people once they’re in a relationship, they can expect people to be asking them about children.”

Couple on a date at restaurant
(© Nejron Photo –

The study also found that fewer than half (49%) of all those surveyed believe that having children is important for personal fulfillment. Additionally, even those who intend to have children don’t plan to have more than two. The reason, given by 56 percent of these respondents, was general financial constraints, which deterred them from wanting a larger family.

Over four in 10 (43%) expressed concern that they wouldn’t have enough time to provide ample attention to many children. Moreover, 27 percent were worried about environmental concerns, such as resource usage and climate impact.

Young adults reported the ideal age for having children to be 28. They were 28 percent “somewhat or a lot more likely” to start families if the government provided 30 hours of universally free childcare to all children under five. Nearly a fifth (19%) were “very concerned” about the potential impact of having children on their career, with men showing slightly more concern than women.

Among those who wish to have children, 76 percent anticipate the joy and love that comes with raising a child, and 51 percent want to fulfill a sense of purpose. Meanwhile, 26 percent are looking to children as a source of support and companionship in their old age.

“There are myriad reasons why someone may decide to have children, the OnePoll spokesperson adds. “But on the other hand, there are just as many – equally valid – reasons to not want to pass down your DNA. Young adults should feel empowered to make their own decisions, and also it’s important to be flexible and realize that things in life can change. Someone may decide at 25 they never want to have children, then change their mind at 35 – which is perfectly fine.”

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South West News Service writer Gemma Francis contributed to this report.

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  1. I would love nothing more than to see our corrupt greedy government collapse. there’s no way I’m giving these phsycophants another cattle to ring dry.

    1. You wouldn’t have a corrupt government if you didn’t elect them.

      Elect Democrats and the corruption will be greatly reduced.

      Continue to vote for the less corrupt and within 2 or 3 election cycles the corruption will be mostly gone.

      You have no one to blame but yourselves.

  2. They ain’t going to like inflation when there aren’t workers when they are old. Guess they don’t want retirement either.

    1. Republican opposition to retirement is what is behind their plans to abolish social security.

      Capitalists want you to remain a slave until the day you die.

  3. My daughter felt the same way – right up until she hit 31 years old. Even married a man who’d been fixed. Yeah…feelings change.

    1. Ya pays yer money… Ya takes yer chances.

      Capitalism isn’t finished destroying the American family yet.

  4. I guess you have to be a little older to realize that the great gift and true love of life, is to be married and have children…the more the better! It’s a legacy that no job or other event can ever replace. Motherhood/fatherhood is the ultimate satisfaction to life, and the older one gets the more they realize it. Mothers were made to have babies and raise them. That is what they want. Fathers were made to provide and protect them. That is what men want to do. Thousands of years has proven is the answer to happiness.

  5. This is part of the reason certain states in the U.S. are pushing so hard to curtail women’s reproductive rights. They want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers and wage slaves.

    1. Correct.

      Americans are born to be slaves. Republicans want to keep them slaves until the day they die.

      Consume. Reproduce.

  6. Given how divorce law works in most western countries, a man would have to be an idiot to get married. Unfortunately love can make a man stupid. But can’t help but notice how far out of their way studies often go to avoid this subject, or the effect it is having.
    Hear no evil
    See no evil
    Speak no evil.

  7. BS. People don’t want children because they are totally into themselves! Doubt me just logon to Instagram…

    1. No one can afford to raise a family because wages haven’t increased substantially since the 70’s.

      It used to take a single wage earner to support a family of 4. Now even the kids are expected to work and families are still going into debt.

      Ain’t Capitalism grand?

  8. The collapse of western civilization looms because fools have been brainwashed to harbor contempt for family and God. When the collapse comes (in about 15 years), the fools who remain believe the conquerors will treat them well. Oh no. The fools who formerly comprised the majority will be hunted, or worse. Reap what you have sown. There is reality and fantasy. The modern American fool will learn the hard way. Strong families and communities are a means of self-preservation.

  9. of course we dont want to bring more cannon fodder and wage slaves to a pathetic tory based boomer idiotic government! no solid wages, terrible housing crisis, importation of cheap educated labour from the former colonies no thanks! to hell with you boomers and your dependance on our earnings for your cushy pensions! you will live a mundane just above water retirement!

  10. “30 hours of free childcare” That would last a week. Are you sure that’s all they want from the government.

  11. The most common reason, given by 49 percent of respondents, was their desire to focus more on themselves. Classic Gen Z self absorption.

  12. Becoming a parent raises your life to a whole new plateau with joys previously unimaginable and some unavoidable pain. We have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren. The single most important day in my life was the day I found out I was going to be a dad. None of the other many successes in my life come close. I feel sorry for childless adults. They should not pay attention to the media spreading false hate and fear to get advertising revenue. Most people are pretty decent and there is no major problem without multiple known remedies to it.

    1. Children are a wonderful source of Adrinochrome.
      Just ask any Republican.

  13. Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a whole movement about families balancing the number of new children so as not to have overpopulation issues such as pollution, food constraints, energy constraints, pushing animals out of their habitats, etc. Now 50ish years on, economists are flipping out because certain nations show signs negative population growth, and thus unable to continually increase GDP. Apparently, our world economic apparatus crumbles if GDP ever tapers off. Ironically economics is the reason for fewer children. With health care and education costs so high, would-be parents have sticker shock, and a dread they might not be able give their kids enough advantages to compete as adults. Perhaps the economic rat race is the root of all evil.

  14. Help me out here, the opening paragraph states: “The research, which polled 1,000 British adults between 18 and 34” and never mentions the United States to my eyes.

    I’m unsure if Americans are thinking that much like Brit’s on this topic. Shouldn’t we do the same research based on US citizens?

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