Family Planning

Child-free by Choice

Choosing to not have kids does not equate with a dislike of kids. Rather, the continued decline in the birth rate boils down to a variety of both personal and practical reasons in many cases. The number of babies born in the United States fell to a near historic low in 2018 and continues to decline, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Sometimes women appear nervous to tell us that they aren’t interested in having children. While we love babies and delivering babies, we also understand the complexities of parenthood and recognize that this is an incredibly important and personal decision for each individual,” said Dr. Pam Jordi. “More women today are sharing their reasons for choosing to not have kids, and it can absolutely be the right decision for many.”

Quality of life is a top reason cited for remaining childfree: Without the costs and time commitment of raising children, adults can choose to travel more, take up new interests and spend their time as they wish while continuing to value their independence.

Others share concerns about the cost of raising kids today and paying off current debt, lack of family or community support, the environmental impact of having kids, a career passion, the pressures of parenthood, no interest in single parenting or in raising kids, and simply liking life as it is. But it doesn’t mean being childfree comes without judgement.

“Unfortunately, women who choose to not have to children are still often pressured or stigmatized by others,” added Dr. Jordi. “However, families come in all shapes and sizes. Just because you are child-free does not mean you can’t or don’t have a family.”

In a 2021 Pew Research study, 43 percent of non-parents ages 18 to 49 said they were “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to have kids—a number that continues to grow. Interestingly, married mothers without kids report greater happiness than those with kids, based on an Institute for Family Studies survey.

 

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