An increasing number of American adults say they don’t want to have kids. It suggests an acceleration of a trend that could have a big impact on real estate markets in the future.

An October survey by the Pew Research Center found that 44% of adults younger than 50 who don’t currently have children said they either “weren’t likely” or were “not at all likely” to one day have children, up from 37% in 2018.

“Among parents and non-parents alike, men and women are equally likely to say they will probably not have kids (or more kids) in the future,” the report notes.

U.S. birth rates have been declining steadily since the 2008 recession, hitting a new all-time low in 2020. Now, with many people worried about pandemic-related economic uncertainty, it’s expected birth rates will decline further, economists told MarketWatch.

Another survey by One Morning Consult in September for example found that 15% of 572 millennials quizzed were less interested in having kids as a result of the pandemic. Another 17% said they would delay having kids because of it. Others cited the large expense of raising children as a key reason why they remain non-parents.

The National Association of Realtor’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights Jessica Lautz said in a blog post this fall that lower birth rates will have a big impact on future housing demand. When people have children that often leads to a major housing decision, prompting them to buy a home or perhaps upgrade to a larger home than their current one, Lautz explained. So without kids, those decisions are less likely to be taken.

The decline in births has already led to fewer home buyers with children in the home. Back in 1985, 58% of home buyers had kids aged 18 or younger, Lautz said. Nowadays, just 33% of home buyers have kids.

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