The U.S. birthrate languishes at its lowest level in history. Hammered by the Great Recession, soaring student debt, precarious gig employment, skyrocketing home prices and the COVID-19 crisis, millennials probably faced more economic headwinds in their childbearing years than any other generation. And, as Karen Benjamin Guzzo, director of the Carolina Population Center and sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told us, it put them behind on everything you’re supposed to line up before you have kids.
“We have a pretty strong set of prerequisites: You absolutely should finish school, and have a decent job, and you should make a decent income, and you should be in a good partnership, and you should live on your own,” Guzzo told us. “That takes a while to accomplish, especially in this day and age. Some people may feel like they’re never going to be in a good place.”