With the Planet Quickly Dying, Many Millennials Are Choosing Not to Have Children

Millennials get blamed… for everything. Now we can add “not having enough children” to the list.

According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, Americans are not producing enough babies to replace the existing population. In fact, the fertility rate has decreased by 2% and the CDC doesn’t have an explanation as to why.

Most baby boomers will tell you that it’s because millennials are selfish (we’re not), and while some millennials just don’t want to have kids (which is perfectly fine), others are refusing to procreate because of an uncertain future.

And now it seems like even Gen-Zers are starting to share similar sentiments. A 2021 global survey found that 4 in 10 young people ages 16-25 are hesitant to have children due to climate change.

antinatalism climate change
credit: Francesca Dipasqua

Miley Cyrus probably best explains this ideology during a 2019 interview with Elle. She said,

“We’re getting handed a piece-of-shit planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child. Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that.”

And, you know what? Miley has a point.

Our planet is dying, we’re on the verge of an economic crisis, and we’re crippled by a national student loan debt that sits at $1.53 trillion. On top of that, having a child is expensive with most families spending around $233,610 per child up to the age of 17. Just looking at the numbers alone is stressful.

climate change antinatalism
credit: Callum Shaw

But Miley’s personal beliefs on having children are nothing new. The concept of antinatalism has been around for centuries and it’s found a new life on Reddit, which boasts over 35,000 members. The space allows antinatalists the freedom to talk about their beliefs without being judged. Millennials who follow the antinatalist philosophy often believe that having children is morally unethical and not good for the environment. As Miley explained in her interview,

“We don’t want to reproduce because we know that the earth can’t handle it.”

Recently, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier that was lost to climate change, a plaque was left at the site that read,

“In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

climate change not wanting kids
credit: Lewis Parsons

Meanwhile, the Amazon rainforest, our planet’s largest ecosystem, is burning at an alarming rate — and it’s been doing so for the past three weeks. The Amazon produces 20% of the earth’s oxygen, and, according to the World Wildlife Fund, if the Amazon turns into a savanna, it will begin to emit a large amount of carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. Scientists say that if the fires don’t slow down, our fight against climate change will get a lot harder.

Whether you’re concerned about our planet’s future or you just don’t want children, everyone has a right to choose without being judged. Because at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s business but you’re own. But with the way things are going, it’s safe to say that it’s anything but selfish not to bring a child into a world that’s falling apart.


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Alysia Stevenson
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she's not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.