Up & Coming Weekly

July 10, 2018

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 5 of 36

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JULY 11-17, 2018 UCW 5 The United States is now easing into the club of industrialized nations, many in Eu- rope, with fertility rates below replacement levels with only 60.2 children born to every 1,000 American women. Photo by Brittany Simuangco on Unsplash. MARGARET DICKSON, Columnist. COMMENTS? Edi- tor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Parenthood has been and remains both an ongoing reality and the most pivotal experience of my life. Other people have told me the same, both mothers and fathers. Parenthood changes peo- ple from the moment a little one arrives, and the job never ends until the parent draws that final breath. Even then, the parent's mark remains on the offspring, however old they may be. Demographic trends are facts, neither good nor bad, but indications of what is going on in a society. Demographers have told us that in the United States, millennials, mostly children of baby boomers, have surpassed boomers in sheer numbers, but that millennials are not having as many children as their parents did. What we have not known as clearly is why. e New York Times recently commissioned a survey to explore that why, with interesting results. Demographers had posited that economic worries were keep- ing our national birthrate down, but it remains at a record low for the second straight year, despite economic gains. It turns out that economic uncertainty is a big part of the picture, but not the whole picture. People who are having fewer children than they might have wanted cited the high cost of child care, but they also want more leisure time and more time with the children they do have. ey also worry about domestic politics, climate change and issues with their partners. irteen percent are honest enough to say do not think they would be good parents. People who say they want no children at all say leisure time is the most important factor to them, along with economic, political and global concerns. ey also cite career importance and concern about being good parents. Some say simply they have no desire to be parents. What is so striking about the survey is that it would not have been given to prior generations of Americans because, for most of human history, people – specifically women – have had little or no choice about becoming parents. It is easy to forget that baby boomers are the first generation ever to have had reliable choices about parenthood with government approval of "e Pill" in 1960. It was not perfect and there were negative side effects, but it worked, and women flocked to it. at was fewer than 70 years ago, a long time for an individual life, but a mere blip in demographic history. Parenthood, and specifically moth- erhood, is now a choice, and women are treating it that way for all sorts of reasons. e burdens of childcare and home responsibility continue to rest more heavily on mothers than on fathers. In addition, childrearing can interrupt a woman's career or pro- fessional life, resulting in an earnings penalty on motherhood. As women have pushed for gender equality in the workplace and throughout our culture, fertil- ity rates have declined, a fact not unnoticed by social scientists. The Times quotes Philip Cohen at the University of Maryland, who stud- ies and writes about family issues. Cohen noted succinctly, "There is no getting around the fact that the relationship between gender equality and fertility is very strong: There are not high-fertility coun- tries that are gender equal." e U.S. is now easing into the club of industrialized nations, many in Europe, with fertility rates below replacement levels with only 60.2 children born to every 1,000 Ameri- can women. Millennial preferences and uncertainties are not the only reason. We also have declining unintended pregnancy rates and higher rates of long-acting contra- ception methods, such as IUDs. At the same time, it remains true that most American women will have children. As economist Oliver evenon said in the Times, "Whether the young generation will catch up later is not certain, but will depend on their capacity to combine work and family." So far, millennials seem to be having trouble with that. Not-so-booming millennials by MARGARET DICKSON OPINION one year special $ 15 for UP & CoMING WEEKLY rEadErs oNLY you save 89% off Tv GuIDe MaGaZINe Get A GreAt DeAL from tV GuiDe mAGAzine start Your subscription online, By Mail or Call online: tvguidemagazine.com/newsoffer mail: complete order form below call: 1-800-365-1940 WHeN CaLLING use PRoMo: K6fNsWPZZ Every issue delivers inside scoop on your favorite shows Breaking news keeps you in the know Highlights help guide you to what's worth watching Your favorite stars take you behind the scenes 28 Pages of easy-to-use primetime listings GrEaT rEasoNs To sTarT YoUr sUBsCrIPTIoN

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