2020 Childfree Trending

Looking Back: 2020 Childfree Trending

What a year. Like in years past, I have closely watched childfree trends in 2020. To start off my latest end-of-year childfree trending piece, how can we not start with the pandemic.

The Pandemic and the Childfree Choice

The impact of the pandemic has spurred talk that relates to the childfree choice in a couple of ways. The first has to do with whether the pandemic will result in less judgment of the childfree choice. We’ve seen a good deal of post, forum and article discussion this past year on this reason not to choose to bring a child into the world. One of my top picks that captures the themes of discussion is Samhita Mukhopadhyay’s piece in The Atlantic.

My take — the jury is out on the answer to this question. In our pronatalist world, it may very well be more that the pandemic reinforces reasons to delay having children, or wait to have another. We will get more of a sense of whether the pandemic might have had a positive impact on how society views the childfree choice once we’re not in the midst of it.

The second has to do with an issue that has been with us in the workplace for a long time. Even more than in ‘normal’ times, during this pandemic, we’ve seen a good deal of discussion out there regarding how those without children end up picking up more slack for employees who are parents. While many people weigh in that, as labor and employment lawyer Domenique Camacho Moran, states, “Employers need to be consistent — the best plan is to know what your business can tolerate, so you’re not treating any group better than the other,” the situation during the pandemic continues to put a special type of strain on people juggling their parenting and professional lives under one roof that those without children don’t have. That is not to say those without children don’t have stresses of their own. The pronatalist default, however, all too often still reinforces priorities of parents in this difficult time.

Continued Increase in Childfree Talk Globally  

I have loved seeing even more talk about the childfree choice in different countries this year, especially in India, Asia, and Africa. Here are just a few highlights:

Woe Is Me! How Do I Live in India Peacefully While Choosing Not to Have Children?

I Won’t Have Children: The Trials of Choosing a Childfree Life

We’re Married And Chose To Have No Kids — Here’s Why

When a woman doesn’t want to have children

Meet Nigerian couples who wish to have no kids

Motherhood? No, thanks! Women’s right to choose

I’ve also seen even more of an increase in global tweeting with the childfree hashtag than ever before this year! My latest follow: @ChildfreeMalawi.

The Childfree Choice and the Climate Crisis

Speaking of global, like last year, more people continue to chew on how the climate crisis is influencing the childfree choice. Two years ago I put this topic in the “worthy of mention” area in my trending piece. In 2019, it made the trending category. And it does this year as well.

One piece in The New York Times, “How Climate Anxiety Is Shaping Family Planning,” takes on the idea that “forgoing children as a means of fighting global warming is entering the mainstream.”

I have pondered whether I think this is the case. In 2020, a good number of articles have addressed angles to answer this question. Here are just three:

No Children By Choice, Where Feminism Meets Ecology

Parenthood or the planet? Choosing the fight against global warming over having children

Why a generation is choosing to be child-free

More and more people have talked about this topic each year, and increasing numbers in younger generations are considering the childfree choice in relation to it, but entering the ‘mainstream’ would connote it’s starting to be seen as a widely accepted choice.  My take — a little more time will tell.

Childfree, Child free & Child-Free

In years past in my childfree trending pieces, I have bemoaned the various ways the word ‘childfree’ is used.  In 2020, in the twitter world, I have seen more of a trend of parents using #childfree to mean they are ‘free of their kids’ at the moment, and in more general narrative usage of ‘child free’ and ‘child-free’ to mean the same.

However, childfree and child-free continue to be used to reflect people who don’t want children as well.  At least in my online reading travels, I tend to see these two terms used most this last year, and less of ‘childless’ and ‘childfree by choice.’ For parents and not, the odds are these patterns have their roots in algorithms that have higher search strength for given audiences. We also still often see many of the possible terms used in one piece for what I surmise is the same reason.

Downticks & Upticks

This year I have observed a bit of a downtick in what I will call more ‘general’ childfree articles, e.g., how to respond to why you don’t have kids, 10 Best Things about the Childfree Lifestyle, and the like. I’ve seen a bit of an uptick in more in-depth and specific examinations. Of note is The Guardian’s childfree series, which included inviting childfree women to write in and share their stories and experiences.

We’ve seen continued features on the childfree choice in major publications, but of note are more stories of the problems childfree women experience when they want to become sterilized as a permanent form of birth control.  This past year I have seen more discussion threads, posts and articles lamenting a variety of ways medical paternalism manifests and prevents women from exercising this reproductive right. The pronatalist notion that doctors know better than women themselves do about their motherhood decision still has way too much of a hold on controlling this facet of women’s reproductive lives.

While social and cultural challenges surely remain, when I look in the 2020 childfree rear view mirror, my biggest takeaway brims with gratitude. Thanks to the ever growing global childfree community of voices, in 2020 even more of the world has been talking about the childfree choice, which continues to foster its path to societal acceptance. Having been on this mission for over a couple of decades now, this makes me happy.

Here’s to more global expansion in 2021!

climate change

Not Having Children Because of Climate Change

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent statement about young people having a “legitimate question – is it OK to still have children” in a world amidst climate change sure created a flurry of commentary and articles. But when the topic made USA Today (print and e-newspaper), I thought now that’s mainstream traction.

Continue reading “Not Having Children Because of Climate Change”
Dave Foreman

Dave Foreman

Trumping the Wild? Dave Foreman’s Take

As many of you may recall, I collaborated with Dave Foreman, one of North America’s leading conservationists, on my last book, the 2nd edition of Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World.  With the election of Donald Trump, and the impending evisceration of the EPA, Dave gives us some sage commentary. Here is a cross-posted excerpt: Continue reading “Trumping the Wild? Dave Foreman’s Take”

I=PAT

Will the Pope Talk Overpopulation & I=PAT?

As I am sure you have seen in the media, the Pope’s “papal encyclical” is due out tomorrow. As CNN explains, “Derived from the Greek word for ‘circle,’ a papal encyclical is a letter from the pope to Catholic clergy and laypeople around the world.” This one though, he hopes “will reach a wider audience, including world leaders meeting for several key environmental summits this year.” It is supposed to be the “first to focus exclusively on ‘creation care,’ the Christian idea that God gave humans the Earth to cultivate, not conquer.”  Continue reading “Will the Pope Talk Overpopulation & I=PAT?”

Man Swarm

Announcing the Release of my Latest Book! Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World

When I was researching The Baby Matrix, I interviewed David Paxson, President of World Population Balance. We talked about how we thought the book, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife, was a great book on overpopulation. Originally written largely for conservationists, David and I really wanted to see the book reach a wider audience. We approached Dave Foreman about developing a 2nd edition to do just that. Today marks the fruit of our efforts! Continue reading “Announcing the Release of my Latest Book! Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World”

Laura Carroll, The Baby Matrix

Overpopulation: Check out this Excellent Documentary in the Making

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for the upcoming documentary by Anchored Minds Productions: Sense & Sustainability. Written and directed by Michael and Amanda Connolly, this is going to be one great film about overpopulation. Here is the synopsis: Continue reading “Overpopulation: Check out this Excellent Documentary in the Making”

Talking Overpopulation: Signs of Coming Out of Taboo Territory?

Today the San Francisco Chronicle has the biggest feature article on population growth I have ever seen it do. The article is titled, “As the World Grow, So Do Climate Dangers.”  In watching new nonfiction releases, I have also been noticing an excellent trend… Continue reading “Talking Overpopulation: Signs of Coming Out of Taboo Territory?”

Population Experts Weigh In On the Heart of Population Issues

Thank goodness we are seeing smart pieces shooting holes in Jonathan Last’s recent baby bust scares. John Seager, President of Population Connection, does just that in a recent post on sustainablog.org. What does he think of Last’s contention that if we don’t get birthrates back up we’re in for a “spiral toward doom?” Seager characterizes it as the “perfect articulation of Ponzi demography – Check it out… Continue reading “Population Experts Weigh In On the Heart of Population Issues”

Laura Carroll

Happy World Contraception Day

Today is World Contraception Day (WCD). It’s been organized by the European Society of Contraception since September 2007.  According to WomanCare Global, it is a global campaign that recognizes the importance of access to contraception for women around the world” and has a “mission to… Continue reading “Happy World Contraception Day”

World Population Day

July 11: World Population Day

From wikipedia, World Population Day “is an annual event, observed on July 11, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in… Continue reading “July 11: World Population Day”