The U.S. birth rate has dropped 10 percent in almost as many years, but that hasn't stopped many of Americans from becoming parents anyway -- just not to humans. The number of dogs adopted in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years, corresponding with the dropping birth rate. And, as Quartz reports, the data show trends that make it difficult to believe the rates are unrelated:
But there's pretty good reason to believe it isn't [coincidence], Damian Shore, an analyst at market-research firm Euromonitor, told Quartz. "There's definitely some replacement happening there," he said.
One telling sign that the two are not entirely unrelated is that the same age groups that are forgoing motherhood are leading the small dog charge. "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," Shore said.
And, as more and more Americans come to view their pets as members of the family, it's easy to see how delayed parenthood can affect the rising rate of small dog adoptions. But, as the Quartz report concludes, those pet-parents might be thinking in the right direction: last year, a study showed the similar bonds that dogs and human babies develop with their parents.