As a single woman of 25, I know what it is to feel pressure from my family to settle down and have that big family. But as I’m sure many of my fellow twentysomethings have noticed, we’re not settling down and popping out kids as quickly as our parents before us. Why? Well, do we really need a reason?

Who We Are

As millennials, we’ve witnessed the rise of technology and understand it while still able to recall when we drank from the hose in our backyard. Now, before you get high and mighty about how you’re not a millennial, yes you are. There is no such thing as a definitive generation, but most experts agree millennials are those born from around the mid-80s to 2000. And as millennials, we’ve stumped quite a few people.

Several studies and reports have determined that there has been a somewhat drastic decline in births. In 2007, the rate was 1,118 births per 1,000 women in their 20s. In 2012, there were only 948 births per 1,000, “by far the slowest pace of any generation of young women in U.S. history.” The largest decline in births was actually among Hispanic women (go us!) at 26%, followed by black women at 14% and an 11% drop for white women.

Decline in Fertility Among Twentysomething Women, by Race

Source: The Atlantic

Now, you may be curious as to why women in their 20s have decided to hold off on childrearing or even appalled that some women could fulfill their life just fine without a baby. Well, there are a number of factors. The biggest one is millennial women are more career-oriented; “Younger women…simply don’t want to juggle ballet recitals with boardroom meetings. For most young women, working is not an option — it’s a necessity,” according to

Fur Babies = Best Babies

So what are we women of the new millennium doing instead of having kids? We’re becoming pet owners. Yup, according to the New York Post, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young American women. While the number of babies being born drops, the number of small dogs (under 25 pounds) in the United States has skyrocketed from 34 million in 2008 to nearly 41 million in 2012 as reported by American Pet Products.
“Women are not only having fewer children but are also getting married later. There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most small dogs,” said market researcher Damian Shore from business-news site, Quartz.

Be Unapologetic

As millennials continue to grow and want more out of life than parenthood, the number of births will steadily decline much as it has in the past. Now, I’m not dogging any young parents out there. If something inside you burned for the longing of a child, more power to you. That means that is one lucky kid. But I’m talking to those who are shamed for their decision to not conceive or to hold off on it. Who cares what people say? When someone asks, “Why don’t you want kids?”, “I just don’t.” is a perfectly fine answer. You don’t need to explain your entire reasoning to someone who more often than not has already solidified their opinion of you.

So go out there, adopt a dog or a cat or a gerbil, and enjoy your twentysomething year-old freedom. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why Fido wears clothes and has his own Instagram account. You do you, boo-boo.