A recent article on Bloomberg covered startling news about the latest birth rate stats in the United States and it caught my interest when I first saw it on Twitter this past week.
According to statistics, the U.S. birth rate is now at a 32 year low! This caught my attention because of how much things are shifting among the millennial generation—a generation that I belong to. When it comes to millennials, we’re such a mixture of trends and realities, that it can be easy for any generation before us to misconstrue who we actually are.
For example, while we are a generation that marries less, there’s also been a downward trend of divorces which shocked me because I thought the trend of divorce was either the same or increasing. Sociologists have suggested multiple reasons for this. Millennials are marrying later as they look to be more financially stable; are less willing to enter into a marriage without getting what they want, and cohabiting is seen as more practical than in earlier generations.
Living as millennials with unique socioeconomic dynamics presents a distinct set of circumstances for us as Christians. For example, the Great Recession really impacted the decision to wait longer for marriage because of how much it affected single millennials economically. I think about how we wait longer to get married and wonder how much that has impacted the willingness of Christians to follow God’s command to wait until marriage for sex, as well as how many have accepted cohabiting as normal in their dating relationships.
I even wonder how we see verses like Psalms 127:4-5 where it speaks of having many children as a blessing,
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalms 127:4-5 (ESV)
The thing about blessings, as Mary learned when bearing the Christ, is that sometimes they come through in an inconvenient way. Many of you may wrestle with bringing children into this world and being excited about it, especially if finances are a big concern for you.
I know how important it is for us to value our part in producing the next generation, but I also sympathize with the struggles that exist when it comes to raising them. Anyone who is a parent, or like myself, looking forward to being one in the future, will have to face these hard decisions.
The birth rate reduction is startling considering how other populations and even religious demographics like Muslims are increasing their birth rates in comparison to America’s.
What will this mean for our future, and how the next generation will look? With the birth rate below “replacement levels” how will the future workforce look as more people retire and less are born? Do you feel there are ways we can better communicate the ways God calls us to raise a family today?
Let us know of your thoughts below!