It seems Americans have traded babies, diapers and cribs for iPhones, FitBits and TVs.
A new study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B has found that there's been a drop in fertility rates in the United States because Americans have decided to buy new gadgets and devices instead of have babies.
The study, done by researchers at Emory University, found that people have placed so much more value in purchasing materials and improving their social status that it has led to lower fertility rates.
"As competition becomes more focused on social climbing, as opposed to just putting food on the table, people invest more in material goods and achieving social status, and that affects how many children they have," anthropologist Paul Hooper said in a statement.
This is mostly seen in areas where there are intense labor markets and intense competition for jobs, Hooper said. Since many countries across the world have social inequality, which only increases competition to find the best jobs, there's been an increasing dip in fertility rates, he said.
And that's true: There has been a significant drop. The U.S. birth rate dropped to a historic low the past few years with the number of births between 2012 and 2013 dropping to below 20,000, even though there's been an increase in the number of women who are in their childbearing years, Forbes reported.
In fact, the birth rate per thousand women fell to 62.5 in 2013 - the lowest number ever recorded, according to Forbes.
This rate fell and then leveled off with the economy's rise and fall, Forbes reported. As the economy grew in 2012, so did the birth rate. But this more recent drop shows a different trend.
"What concerns experts is not the fall itself, but the fact that it accelerated when we were supposedly experiencing an economic recovery," Forbes reported.
While this fits with the Emory University study's findings, there's a number of reasons that fertility rates have dropped. For one, women are having children at older ages than before, mostly because they have put their careers ahead of childbearing. Women have also put an importance on finding a husband who's financially stable with a steady job, The Washington Post reported, at the same time that men have seen a loss in jobs.
Couples also spend too much money on their career moves and material goods that they simply can't afford to have children, according to the Emory University study.
But placing value in material goods over children isn't always the best approach, and it may soon change with this generation's group of youngsters. A Pew Research Center study from 2011 found millennials put parenthood ahead of other life choices, like marriage.
And, according to Millennial Marketing, a Web platform that looks at how millennials fit into today's market, it seems young Americans appreciate family values over making money and embracing materialism.
Millennials want stable families, and have often said they want to put their families ahead of careers and gadgets. In fact, millennials plan to do this as they become parents by teaching their children that good family values outweigh new tech gadgets.
"An emphasis on travel, learning and experiences is characteristic of their generation and a pattern they are likely to carry over into their parenting," according to Millennial Marketing. "Again, this may be a function of necessity as well as values. Whatever the reason, look for houses to be smaller and greener, toys to be fewer and family activities to be more common."
Experts often recommend this for all parents. Experiences and good behavior matter most when it comes to parenting, not the materials children get from stores.
"What I want is for my kids to remember horseback riding, to remember spotting the starfish at low tide, to remember that time they were playing in the cold California waves and Mom went in all the way up to her waist even though she was wearing jeans," Erika Janes of Parents magazine wrote. "To remember whittling the bark off of a walking stick found by the side of the road. To remember that the best things from vacations (and from life) can come home with you - but not in a suitcase."
Still, the choice is up to parents (or soon-to-be parents) about what they value more. Here are some "would you rather" questions to help you determine what you want your child (or future child) to value in his or her life.