Incredible data has revealed more people are opting for pets over children, with over half the country’s population considering pet fur babies to be of greater importance. New research from Compare the Market shows that Gen Z and Baby Boomers in particular are most likely to consider their pets more important than children. The latest study revealed that more than half of Australians do or would consider pets as equally important as children, with as many as one in 20 people considering fur babies to be more important. Many are predicting financial pressures to play a part in a decline in birthrates, with data from the Federal Government’s centre for population showing that birth and fertility rates have been steadily declining since the 1970s, with a massive spike downward since 2018. Many Gen Zs — people born between 1996-2012 — said cost-of-living pressures and lack of flexible child care options were a key factor of this thinking. “With cost of living it’s just so much easier at the moment to have a pet than a child,” Eaton resident Mel Birch said. “The resources required both financially and mentally make a pet seem like a more reasonable option.” Recently married James Brown said he and his wife were happy with their family of two dogs, regarding them as their kids. He said the emphasis on work was a big factor into opting for fur babies over human ones. “There’s just not the support needed to have children without having a parent sacrifice their career,” he said. “It’s much easier to raise pets without the loss of income and career.” Another contributing factor to the results was the longer-lasting lifestyle change, with few people opting for a child that requires more attention and sacrifice. “It’s a lot longer of a commitment too,” Bunbury resident Pat Boyle said. The older generations are also seeing a stronger family connection with their pets as their families get older. Wendy Worthington-Eyres of Withers said her two dogs Boya and Meela were integral to her family. “My grand kids have all gotten older, so these two are my whole world, I’d be lost without my dogs,” she said. She said she had noticed the change in attitudes towards treating pets on equal standings as kids. “My kids help run the Petstock in Eaton and my goodness, people are there spending $50 or so on their pets and not themselves.” Victorians were seen as the State more likely to go above and beyond for their fur-babies, with West Australians trailing further behind as fifth on the list — 1.9 per cent of the State’s population considers pets more important than kids. According to Petrescue.com.au, pet adopting saw a massive boom during COVID-19, with searches on its site for pet adopting rising by 90 per cent.