By Michelle Adams, Editor in Chief
One-third of the nation’s 20-somethings are not interested in having children any time soon, according to a recent study.
The report, conducted by Cassandra, a firm that seeks to connect Fortune 500 companies with millennial consumers, found that of 75 million members of Generation Y in the United States, nearly 25 million have no desire to be parents. Reasons for this varied, according to the study, with 34 percent of those polled saying that they enjoy the flexibility of not having children, and 32 percent preferring not to add more responsibility to their lives.
Many Shenandoah University students agree that starting a family is not a top priority, for a variety of reasons.
“After I finish college, I don’t want to immediately have kids while I’m starting my career, but it’s also so I can travel and experience things before I settle down to have children,” said Kelley Wyatt, 19, an exercise science major. “It’s not that I don’t want them, it’s that I want to wait until later in life to have them, after I’ve been able to do the things I’d like to.”
“Millennials don’t want children, or as many children as their parents, because they are more focused on their jobs and succeeding in the workforce,” Tess Nicol, 19, an exercise science major, said. “They don’t have as much time to devote to having children.”
Other students argue that Generation Y is not having children because it is harder now than it used to be.
“I personally want kids, but I feel that the want for kids has decreased,” said biology major Marissa Sager, 20. “Our parents’ parents used to have five to 10 kids and be totally okay with it. In our day and age, if people have four, we say they have their hands full.”
“If I want to travel, it would be harder to do with the expense of children,” Wyatt said, “so money also plays a factor.”
Despite these hardships, 22 million millennials are already parents, and one-third plan to be in the near future, according to the study.
Additionally, the report noted that a whopping 75 percent of Generation Y believes that having children out of wedlock is acceptable, although that is not what several Shenandoah students are picturing for themselves.
“I’ve always been the girl who wanted the American dream, a cute house with a white picket fence and kids running around the yard. I want kids more than anything,” said Jenna Wheeler, 21, a mass communications and criminal justice double major. “To be able to feel and express that kind of love for someone seems so magical.”
“It actually breaks my heart when my peers say that they don’t want children,” said Kierstan Tinsman, 20, a biology and Spanish double major. “I feel that my true calling is to be a mother, and when I hear people say they hate kids or will never have kids it makes me very sad.”
“I understand wanting to be successful in a career and being able to travel the world,” she said, “but just because you have a family doesn’t mean you can’t do those things. You get to share them with beautiful kids that you created with the person you love and, for me, that is so important.”