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Australia is not alone in facing a population crisis; Europe and Asia have both seen large declines in fertility rates in the past decade (Bigstock)

Australia has not been at population replacement levels since the 1970s, but new research shows more than half of young people are putting off having children. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Recent research, compiled by political research organisation RedBridge Group, shows more than half of 18 to 34-year-olds are delaying starting a family, blaming the current cost of living effects, ABC News reports. The data came from a survey of 2000 Australians.

Australian Catholic University sociologist Bryan Turner said the number was higher than he expected, but it was an obvious outcome of the cost-of-living pressures faced by young people today.

He said food prices, education costs and housing had to factor into the decision to start a family.

“Many (young people) are waiting to inherit family wealth as the only way to afford housing,” he said.

The country’s birth rate is currently at 1.6 — below the replacement rate level of 2.1 needed to keep population growth steady.

Australia was not alone in facing a population crisis.

Europe and Asia had both seen large declines in fertility rates in the past decade.

Professor Turner said even in traditionally Catholic countries like Spain (1.19 live births per woman), Italy (1.25) and Portugal (1.38), there were ongoing declines in fertility rates.

“This raises questions about the traditional Catholic family and the continuity of the Church,” he said.

Pope Francis has been on a campaign this year trying to convince Italians to have more children.

“The number of births is the first indicator of the hope of a people,” Pope Francis told an annual gathering of pro-family groups in May.

“Without children and young people, a country loses its desire for the future.”

Pope Francis said Europe and many countries around the world faced a demographic winter, where fewer younger people would be relied upon to support an aging population.


Young people putting off children is no surprise, ACU sociologist warns (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)

More than half of young Australians are putting off having children. What does that mean for future growth? (By Oliver Gordon and Georgia Roberts, ABC News)