Opinion: ‘No way, baby’: B.C. sees drop in number of babies born

Chris Campbell

My daughter Emily is 21 and has no interest in being a mom right now, possibly ever.

Now, that’s disappointing because I desperately want to be a grandfather so I can spoil the crap out of some grandkids, but I respect her decision.

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Emily isn’t sure she ever wants to bring a child into a world in the midst of a climate crisis.

I mention this because the Province of B.C. released some stats today showing that the number of babies born in 2019 had dropped.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 18, 2019, 40,978 babies were born in B.C. In 2018, 43,844 babies were born in B.C.

That’s 2,866 fewer babies born in our province.

I wouldn’t necessarily call that a steep drop, but it feels significant. Perhaps it’s just a blip.

But I doubt it. I hear from more and more young people - not just my daughter - that they aren’t planning on having children – ever.

New Year's baby
Source: Cornelia Naylor

Now that, of course, can change over time, but I don’t recall a time when so many young people seem so sure they aren’t going to have children.

Who can blame them if they don’t? The world is a mess environmentally. It’s also a mess when it comes to young people and affordability. The cost of housing was pittance when I was my daughter’s age.

I remember moving out to Maple Ridge and getting a spacious two-bedroom apartment for $390 a month. I was starting at the bottom of the journalism ladder, but cheap rent really helped me save so I could buy my first place.

Emily doesn’t have that option. To her, life feels bleak on so many fronts and that has turned her off parenthood.

I feel helpless because I can’t even reassure her about the world and where it’s heading. I also feel shame my all of our past generations – mine included – have wrecked things for our young people.

And that's a damn shame because parenthood changes you in so many wonderful ways. 

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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