Some Gen Z, millennial Canadians choosing child-free life, according to new report


Some Gen Z and millennial Canadians are choosing a child-free life, according to a recent report by Statistics Canada. New data shows that more than a third of people aged 15 to 49 don’t intend to have children.For over a decade, the number of children per woman in Canada has been on a general downward trend.The average number of children desired was higher among older people and the difference between age groups could be related to generational factors, the report says.And according to students at the University of Manitoba, loans, studying and even balancing a job are just a few of the stressors many in the student demographic face that contribute to family plans being a low priority.“First of all, I want to make sure I’m good and I get everything paid off before I even think about having kids and I don’t even know how long that’s going to be,” said student Bethany McMillan. Story continues below advertisement Another added stressor in this new generation is inflation, leaving many young people feeling like they won’t be able to afford to start a family.“I might not even have a chance to start a family with how expensive everything is,” McMillan says.Younger people face tough financial challenges such as rising interest rates, and real estate prices causing some to hold off on starting a family, according to Grant White with Endeavour Wealth Management.“It has become a lot more expensive, which is why we’ve seen this a long-term trend of birth rates dropping, dropping and dropping.”White says the trend did not start because of the pandemic or because of high inflation but it’s a continued trend.“I think it’s just become a lot more evident as we’re looking at why people aren’t buying houses as early as they used to.” Trending Now The “child-free movement” has been popping up on the app TikTok, with people all over the world sharing their stories on why they are staying child-free and using the hashtag #childfreemovement.“The child-free movement is important because it’s destigmatizing something that traditionally has been judged and many people are now realizing that parenthood is a choice,” says Zoë Noble, founder of an online global community “We are Childfree.” Story continues below advertisement “The movement is about empowering people to live authentically and choose the right path for them and if that’s without children, then there’s nothing wrong with that.”Noble says people who choose a child-free life face many judgments, especially as women.“They are told there is something wrong with them, they’re told they’ll change their mind, they don’t know their own minds, they’ll regret it, they’ll be unhappy, unfulfilled and sad. So the list goes on.”She says women feel a lot of pressure from society to have children.“We are definitely seeing a lot more pressure and judgment on women’s shoulders because of, you know, patriarchy and fanaticism and seeing womanhood as motherhood.”“I’ve experienced this in the medical world having to seek out reproductive health and being denied things like hysterectomies or sterilization procedures because women are not meant to choose to not have children.”Noble hopes the movement can help people to understand and support all life choices, whether they include children or not.“I actually hope that the project starts building bridges between parents and non-parents because we don’t get anywhere if we just keep building walls.” Story continues below advertisement And even though some are choosing to stay child-free, others are hoping they will be able to have a family one day.“Oh, of course, I want kids one day but obviously not now because of school and all that and financially I can’t handle it but one day I would,” says U of M student Simi Amowoyagi.People aged 25 to 49 were more optimistic about the likelihood of various conditions relating to having children being met, while people aged 15 to 24 were more likely to believe economic conditions and work-life balance would not be sufficient to have children, according to the StatCan report.— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche 2:06 ‘We can do it today’: Manitoba has resources to address shocking child poverty rate, advocates say &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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