Looking Back: 2019 Childfree Trending

childfree trending

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to talk 2019 childfree trending!

I’ve researched and tracked the childfree choice and those who make it for 20 years now, and can say that in the past year, online and everywhere the childfree community has continued to grow. This choice continues to be talked about more than ever before. Childfree trends we’ve seen this year include:

Continued Growth of Global Talk on the Childfree Choice

In 2019, we’ve seen even more discussion on the childfree choice across the globe. Here are just a few examples of the many out there:

2019 childfree trending

“The Spanish women who are opting out of motherhood”

“More women in Ireland are choosing to be ‘voluntarily childless’. Are you one of them?”

“My life, my choice: ‘Why I chose not to have children’”

I have also noticed even more coming out of India, such as:

“Dear Society, Please Stop Asking Married People When They Will Have Children”

“Parenthood Paradox: Why Young Indians Are Choosing Not To Have Kids”

“Is motherhood a glorified responsibility?” (I particularly like this title)

“#InternationalWomen’s Day – 2 Women Share Why Having Kids Is Not On Their Agenda. Judging Them Already?”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The growing global discussion is very exciting.

Less Muddled Use of Childfree, Child-free, Child free, Childless, Childfree by Choice, Child Free by Choice

In 2017 and 2018, I discussed muddled use of these terms. This year, I’ve seen less use of “child free” and “child free by choice.” While we still see “child-free” being used synonymously with “childfree,” I have seen less of this recently, and a bit more of the use that means children are not with the person at that moment. In the last year, we have still seen the use of “childless” and “childfree” being used synonymously, but in my view, not as much.

The term we have seen more of to replace “childfree” is “childfree by choice” (no space between “child” and “free”). We may have seen a rise in the use of this term due to previous muddled use of the word “childfree” (and “child free”) to ensure clearer meaning. Instead of the term that has been used in the past – “childless by choice” – it seems in the term “childfree by choice,” the word “childless” has just been replaced with “childfree.” To me, “childfree by choice” is redundant. From the first time it appeared in a textbook in the 70s, that it’s a choice has been inherent in the word “childfree.” I’m going to stick to this, and continue to use the terms “childfree” and “the childfree choice.” I hope these two terms can come to be used the most.

Childfree Decision Due to Climate Crisis

Last year I put this in the “worthy of mention” area of my trending piece. This year, however, it made the trending category. More than ever before, we’ve seen the ethics of reproduction in a time of climate crisis being discussed, including choosing not to bring children into today’s world (and its projected future). This decision has been referred to as “the new childfree.” 

While the climate crisis-related reason is being talked about more as a reason to make the childfree choice, it is not the most common reason. Even so, here are just a few of the many examples we’ve seen this year of this kind of discussion:

“BirthStrike: The people refusing to have kids, because of ‘the ecological crisis’”

“We need to talk about the ethics of having children in a warming world”

“”No-brainer’: Women are choosing to not have kids due to climate change concerns

“These Australian Women Are Reconsidering Motherhood Because Of Climate Change”

“Is it immoral to have babies in the era of climate change?”

Electing not to have children because of the climate crisis reflects one reason to make the childfree choice, and I have to say it’s one that makes me sad. It is so distressing that we and the natural world face this worldwide issue.

Continued Growing Strength of the Childfree Community

In 2019, we have seen even more growth of the childfree collective that is fueling the road to social and cultural acceptance of this reproductive choice. This past year, we’ve seen more talk and discussion about the “childfree movement.” In a sense it is, as it is a growing community speaking out about this choice and how it is about time that society accepted it as just as normal of a choice as the choice to have children.

However, to me more of a ‘movement’ would be if the childfree organized around a specific group action, such as changing child-centric and parent-centric leave policies in private and non-profit sectors. Having said this, the childfree sure are a network of informal groupings that seek and find like-minds and support in a world in the process of shifting attitudes and beliefs about the choice not to reproduce. Books, websites and a plethora of publications seek to educate people on this choice in the name of the larger game – social change.  

Where are we on the road to societal acceptance? 

You tell me – stay tuned for a Childfree Poll to come Soon!

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