People Are Blaming Binge-Watching for the Falling Fertility Rate
A new survey shows a surprising number of people admit to choosing streaming TV over sex. But is Netflix really to blame?
April 26, 2019
Americans are having fewer babies than ever before, but it's tough to pinpoint the real reason why. Some experts chalk it up to the economy, and others say it's because millennial women are simply having children later in life. But a new report is blaming the declining fertility rate on something else entirely: Netflix.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal theorized that streaming services—like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV—could be the reason fertility rates are falling. And there's some data to suggest that binge-watching is not helpful in the baby-making department. According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Survey Monkey, one in four adults said they've chosen streaming television over sex at least once in the past six months.
Thirty-eight percent of the survey respondents, age 18 to 38, said they've been the one to choose streaming TV over sex, while 30 percent said their partner has picked streaming TV over sex. But among the 39 and up demographic, only 16 percent and 19 percent respectively said the same.
The survey followed a 2017 study that looked at the correlation between Americans spending more time streaming shows and having less sex than in decades before. The study's lead author Jean Twenge, Ph.D., said the ad-free format of streaming services could be to blame. As she told the Wall Street Journal, "Now, if you're watching something streaming, the next episode is immediately available, and there are no commercials where you could look over and say, 'Honey, you look cute tonight.'"
That actually makes some sense, but it might be a little unfair to pin the population decline on Netflix. Per the Daily Dot, a spokesperson for the streaming company said, "We take pride in being part of the cultural zeitgeist, but getting credit for a decadeslong decline in sex is beyond even our programming abilities."