Bringing Up Baby ... Not: More Women Childless by Choice
As our lifestyles get busier, more women than ever before are deciding to forgo having kids, a trend that has been on the rise for decades, according to U.S. Census data reported in the Chicago Sun-Times. Across the country, 20.4 percent of women ages 40 to 44 were childless in 2006, compared with 10.1 percent in 1983, according to the report. And the average number of children for all mothers in that age group decreased to 1.9 in 2006, from 3.1 in 1976.
"There's definitely a group of people weighing costs and benefits of having kids that would conflict with the way of life they've made for themselves," University of Minnesota sociologist Ross Macmillan tells the Sun-Times.
Studies released earlier this year back this rising trend of women choosing not to become moms. A Pew Research Center report from June 2010 showed nearly 20 percent of older women do not have children, compared to 10 percent in the 1970s.
Nearly one in five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one in 10 in the 1970s, according to the Pew Research. While childlessness has risen for all racial and ethnic groups, as well as most education levels, it has fallen over the past decade for women with advanced degrees. Educated women still are among the most likely never to have had a child.
But, in a notable exception to the overall rising trend, in 2008, 24 percent of women ages 40 to 44 with a master's, doctoral or professional degree had not had children, a decline from 31 percent in 1994.
The number of children born is dropping "like a stone in pretty much every country," Macmillan tells the Sun-Times, and the United States has seen a 50-year rise in the number of childless women.
"The more women's lives in their late 20s and early 30s are filled up with other stuff, then, yeah, you are going to get a growing group that decide not to have kids at all," Macmillan tells the newspaper.
Women without kids are embracing their childlessness, forming groups on Facebook, such as SWWK (Single Women Without Kids), and on Meetup across the country. In Canada, groups include "Women Without Kids" in Edmonton, where women without kids who "do not have kids and are happy," meet for dinners, coffee and to form friendships.
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