A Global Look at Not Having Children

childfree trends

At the beginning of January, some interesting ‘not having children’ numbers came out regarding women in their 40s.  This Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) table gives a succinct summary: 

% of women in their 40s not having children

Childfree Going Global

Reasons for not having children

The U.K. is highlighted in this table because it appears in an article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail.  The article proposes reasons for these numbers.  On one hand, the OECD surmises that “the postponement of parenthood over the last decades…has increased the possibility for adults to remain childless.” Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, points out other reasons, including “economic pressures, the suppression of traditional roles within the family, a lowering of the status of motherhood and the fact that children are seen as a threat to maintaining a high standard of living.”

I am not sure I agree with the “lowering status of motherhood.” There is still a very healthy amount of motherhood exaltation going around, and I mean globally.

Another reason Wells describes also comes as news to me. He says, “so much sex education has placed such a strong emphasis on how to avoid pregnancy, that it has frequently presented a very negative image of childbearing and of motherhood.” Does the “contraceptive culture” “too easily blind us to the joy” of the birth of a child? I think not. Contraception allows for family planning, which I would say makes the planned birth of a child more joyful than an unplanned one.

Ah, but the Family Education Trust is a “national educational trust researching causes and consequences of family breakdown,” and I surmise that it leans conservative, including anti-contraception and anti-abortion positions. So ‘lowering status’ and ‘contraceptive culture’ reasons should not necessarily surprise us. However, postponement, financial reasons, and other life circumstances do enter into the equation that results in women and couples having no children.

What does the article not mention? A simple of lack of desire to become parents. Now, when research does dissect women with no children into samples that clearly delineate the reasons, the lack of desire does not come out as the lead reason, but it is a reason.

Other Numbers

We don’t see Russia on this table, but recent demographic numbers from the public opinion outfit, “All-Russia centre” give us a slice of the picture using a sample of 1200 Russians. It indicates that 6% of Russian citizens (men and women) “do not want to have children.”  Reasons? The news item did not specify the reasons for “consciously [refusing] the institution of the offspring.”

In addition to the OECD numbers, we also see other recent numbers out of Korea. Statistics Korea recently told us that “9% of women who tied the knot between 2005 and 2009 have decided not to have children.”  The piece, “One in 10 Married Women Don’t Want Children,” by Park Yu-yeon stipulates the reason as related to the cost of raising a child.

Back in the U.S., Pew Research has other numbers hot off the press having to do with women ages 40-44. A recent study reveals an “upward trend in the share of never-married women having children.” More on this in an upcoming post.

Focus on the Global Childfree

No matter what the reason, we are seeing more global talk about people not having children.

Me ~ I am focusing on the global childfree. Soon I will do a more formal shout out, but for now…

If you are reading this, live outside the U.S., and are in a childfree romantic partnership, I would love to talk with you about being part of Families of Two II, which is going global!

Contact me Here

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