Pew Research

Recent Pew Research & a Look Back at Wharton School Study

A recent Pew Research Center survey with 4581 respondents has interesting results for those with no children:

-37% of respondents under 50 years old with no children “say they don’t ever expect to become parents.”

-23% of respondents under 50 years old with no children “say they’re unlikely to have children in the future because they just don’t want to.” 

-3 in 10 of respondents under 40 with no children “say they are unlikely to become parents someday.”

This survey brought to mind…

Reading about the survey brought to mind the 2013 book, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family by Stewart Friedman. This book summarizes a cross-generational study of college students that produced a “stark discovery: the rate of graduates who plan to have children has dropped by nearly half over the past 20 years.”

Conducted by the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the study surveyed 496 members of the 1992 Wharton undergraduate class, then 307 of the 2012 graduating class.

When the 2012 grads were asked, “Do you plan to have children?”:

-41% of women said yes, 14% said probably, and 27% said probably not or no.
-42% of men said yes, 12% said probably, 30% said probably not or no.

In 2012, we can assume that many or most of the grads were in their early 20s, and would now be in their late 20s/possibly early 30s, so under 40.

I find it interesting that in the Pew Research survey, 3 in 10 (30%) under 40 responded that they are unlikely to become parents someday, and for the 2012 grads in the Wharton study, it is about the same: about 3 in 10 (27% for women and 30% for men) responded “probably not or no.”

In the Wharton study, the ‘probably not or no’ respondents were not given a chance to answer questions directly related to their level of desire to become parents. This recent Pew survey allowed for answers to clearly state because respondents just did not want to have them.

The longitudinal nature of the Wharton study is also very informative. I wish we could continue to track the 2012 grads as well as the under-40-year-olds in the recent Pew survey for a longitudinal look at their reproductive lives. 

A Longitudinal Look

A longitudinal look at how reproductive lives evolve over time is just what I have been doing for the last nine years. I have been conducting a 10-year study with over 25 women who at the outset identified themselves as childfree. With one more year to go, I have to say this first-of-its-kind study has been an incredible research project with amazing women. I look forward to sharing its results!

To Kid Or Not To Kid

The Premiere of the Documentary Film, To Kid Or Not To Kid, by Maxine Trump

Last weekend I was in New York at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the United States! I attended the premiere of the documentary film, To Kid Or Not To Kid by filmmaker Maxine Trump. The film follows Maxine’s personal journey of moving through her decision to live childfree.   Continue reading “The Premiere of the Documentary Film, To Kid Or Not To Kid, by Maxine Trump”

Morning Consult

On a Recent Morning Consult and New York Times Survey on Having/Not Having Children

The recent article, “Americans Are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why,” discusses a new survey conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times. It reports on survey results regarding why “young adults are having fewer children than their ideal number” as well as why they aren’t sure and why they don’t want them at all. Let’s take a brief look at the ‘aren’t sure’ and ‘don’t want them’ group of respondents. Continue reading “On a Recent Morning Consult and New York Times Survey on Having/Not Having Children”

To Baby or Not to Baby

Advice on the “To Baby or Not to Baby” Question

A recent “Ask Polly” on The Cut shocked me.  A woman writes in with the question, “Should I have a baby?” and even though Polly assures readers the “column is not a parody,” I admit I read the response more than once to be sure her advice actually seemed serious.  Continue reading “Advice on the “To Baby or Not to Baby” Question”

Reasons Why People Decide Not to Have Kids

Unpacking Reasons Why People Decide Not to Have Kids

The recent piece, “Do You Have Kids,” by Jeannette Cooperman on projects.stlmag.com in part lays out what “14 women of various races, careers, backgrounds, and belief systems, all married or as-good-as, with the resources to raise a child should they choose to” contemplate as reasons women decide not to have kids.  Let me briefly unpack them: Continue reading “Unpacking Reasons Why People Decide Not to Have Kids”

Talking Pronatalism on the Podcast, This is Home

Check out the latest This is Home podcast just up today that talks about the choice to not have children.

I had a great interview with Producer/Co-Host Erica Gerard, and was happy to be part of this podcast!

The mission of the This is Home podcast is to “tell stories that expand the understanding of what family means to be more inclusive and reflective of the kind of families we see and experience every day – in all of their beautiful and messy forms.”  This podcast episode speaks to home when it means “families of two“!

The podcast can also be found on itunes.  Thank you, This is Home, for discussing this!