The Low Birth Rate Crisis- Why Does the Young Generation not Want Kids?

A lot of young people find the process of raising a child to be a huge burden as they can barely make enough for themselves, so they choose not to bear a child.

A lot of young people find the process of raising a child to be a huge burden as they can barely make enough for themselves, so they choose not to bear a child.

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

In recent years, less and less people are willing to have children due to various reasons. This leads to a low birth and fertility rate in those countries. Many people are aware that overpopulation is an issue, so initially, the phrase “low birth rate” doesn’t hit people as such a negative thing. If there are less and less people being born, shouldn’t that help with some environmental problems as less fuel is needed to sustain human life? Well…that is not exactly the case. When asked about this, Isabella Smith (11) said, “I think that low birth rate can bring mystery around the future of a certain country.” 

China, for example, is facing this problem right now. According to yahoo, “In 2020, 1.2 crore babies were born in China. This is a fall of 18 per cent from 2019, which saw 1.465 crore births.” ( The most jarring issue here is that the “falling birth rate and rapidly graying working population are posing a social and economic problem.” ( The newer generation will have less people than the old one, meaning there won’t be enough people to fill in all the jobs and produce income. Additionally, since the country also has to provide for its retired elders, China will lose money as generations go by and eventually not be able to sustain itself economically. This not only applies to China, as according to the World Population Review, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Poland, and Japan are also high up on the low birth rate list.

Japan has been the main talking point when discussions are made about this crisis. The National Library of Medicine discusses a few reasons as to why Japanese people are not willing to bear children including “the declining marriage rate, an increase in the average age of those getting married, economic burden, childcare burden, later child-bearing, and infertility.” ( For Japan specifically, young people don’t want to get married and are becoming more and more antisocial. It is extremely easy to live alone in Japan, as the houses are usually very small and a lot of people live in apartments. Because of this, many people are ok with sitting alone at home and playing video games while working a low paying job. Plus, the burden of raising a child in Japan is much different than it is elsewhere, so it is also a cultural thing. In Japan, “men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families,” while the women stay home and clean. This specific gender divide causes a lot of stress for both men and women. Additionally, “the rise of unsteady employment” adds to the stress for young people because many can barely find a good job to support themselves, so how can they find one that can support a family? ( 

How do we change this? Many governments are trying to lower the stress for working parents. For example, “France’s fertility rate has increased from 1.74 to 2.08, in part thanks to a variety of pro-natalist initiatives, such as tax deductions for dependents and paid maternity leave financed through the national health insurance system” ( In South Korea however, this does not seem to be working despite the fact that the country spent “more than $130bn (£92bn) on incentives for families.” ( This is because one solution cannot work for every single country suffering this crisis.

Another way to help increase birth rates is to make work more flexible. According to the BBC, “Countries with a higher prevalence of part-time positions do tend to have higher fertility rates.” ( If we gave people, especially women, opportunities to work less while still having a stable income, then more people will be inclined to have children as they will have more time and money to spend on the child. Even though this sounds like a great solution, some countries just aren’t in the right place financially to be able to make this work because they need young people to be filling in these jobs for 8 hours a day.

The average birth rate has been decreasing in various countries, and it is not slowing down despite many governments’ attempts. Some say there may be benefits to this, but overall, it is clear that the negatives outweigh the positives. In YLHS, we might not care as much about this, but think about it: Pure Japanese people (meaning excluding mixed-race people) might be extinct by the end of this century. That is absolutely crazy to me because it means the entire world will not be so diverse ethnicity wise, and my own grandkids might never encounter a pure Japanese person who is born and raised there. I hope that we as young students in high school recognize this issue as it can change the human population drastically in the future.