It’s apparent that today’s economical and political climate is vastly different than that of one or two generations before. And now there is a cultural shift that has come along as a result — a shift in favor of more pets, fewer children.
Millennials, generally defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, places this cohort in their 30s or just entering their 30s. This is generally around the age when people begin to start families of their own. However, certain factors — including financial stress — has some Millennials thinking twice about forfeiting or postponing the freedom of a childless home. That said, the responsibilities that come with pet parenting are good preparation for future family life.
Money, of course, is central to the conversation. Overall, pets cost less than children…much less. When deciding to become a pet parent, it’s still important to factor in food, vet bills, training and socialization, grooming, boarding and overnight care when you are out of town. But as anyone that has felt the love of a pet can attest, it’s worth every penny.
A second concern among millenials is the attention required to raise a child. Because a child requires constant planning and supervising, children present a stark shift away from a more flexible lifestyle. A pet can be much more accommodating of one’s free time. This is not to say pets enjoy being ignored…clearly they don’t. But at least you can feel comfortable leaving them on their own for short periods of time. Best of all, drop them off at your favorite pet care facility. They’ll enjoy the visit as much as you enjoy your away-from-home break, so that’s a for a win-win.
As the definition of the American dream shifts for Millennials, the preference for pets over children at least for the moment— seems to suit many. A pet can bring so much love and care into that lifestyle wherever it may lead. And perhaps for now, that is simply enough.