Is choosing NOT to have children bad for society?

Apparently a recent study of American women shows that 18 percent of women (nearly 1 in 5!) now end their childbearing years without biological children, compared to 10 percent in 1976. And for an increasing number of these women – childlessness is a choice.

But what I found really interesting was people’s opinions about childlessness…  In 2007 29% of people thought childlessness was bad for society – but by 2009 this had jumped (increased) to 38%!

For more detailed statistics click here

I found this really surprising. So, I’m curious, who and where are these nearly 40% of people who think childlessness is bad for society?

My initial thoughts are that if everyone decided not to have children, that might be bad for society, but if less people choose not to have children this could be GOOD for society. It’s good for the environment (eg. less food, resources and other products required and less driving around). AND it may be good for the kids that ARE being raised – people who don’t have kids of their own are someone else for a child to go to – who may have more time for them than someone who already has children of their own. I’m thinking doting aunts, uncles and friends here.

But more importantly, what do you think?

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Thanks to Andrea Palframan for her suggestion of this topic and The Salon for the prompt for this post.


6 comments to Is choosing NOT to have children bad for society?

  • A childfree by choice lifestyle is looked down by many as the ultimate “unwomanly” thing to do. Having a child can be life-altering in more ways than one can possibly imagine and it is an extremely personal choice. Yet women who choose to go childfree have to be prepared for raised eyebrows, weird looks, inquisitive questions, thinly-veiled remarks as well as a phenomenal amount of pressure both from family and society as a whole. If this is the case in developed countries, it is even worse in developing ones like India-where women are expected to have a child after marriage by default. Yet some women have had the courage and the conviction to defy convention. Do read about them in this article

  • Angela

    Is it possible to edit posts? I made a significant typographical error. Important should read import. And of course reasoning.

  • Angela

    I haven’t given it much thought, but I believe it should be a personal choice based on your own personal goals for your life. All I know is that if a population is not sufficiently high the government will important people from other countries! I have seen this in Canada and Scotland. You would really need to speak to an economist to understand the reasonging behind this.

    • Hi Roisin,Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s grelealny the case that those who support the premise of the article don’t comment and those that want to attack it, find plenty of time to share their thoughts! There are a few more comments on the site now that are more supportive and from women who can relate to what I was talking about. It’s been an interesting exercise and good for thickening my skin! Hope you’re well.Katherine x

  • I think the CHOICE to not have children can only have a good effect on society. As you point out, less resources used, and less time, energy and effort towards providing for these children only free up the resources, time, energy and effort available for the children who are here.

    What I enjoy about the statistic is that it’s a CHOICE. I’m a huge fan of conscious choice, and it simply means more women are making choices in their lives. This is GREAT for society. It means we’re moving more consciously and not just doing what we’ve always done because we think we’re supposed to do it. If we can choose the life we want, then isn’t that better for everyone?

    • Thank you for this. I think your reflection here is very true about itnretilify, but also about so many other difficult experiences that we don’t often talk about openly but could be shared with so many others (chronic illness, miscarriage, depression, etc). At our parish, we just started up Elizabeth Ministries, which is meant to connect women who are going through things like itnretilify, miscarriage, difficult pregnancy, the adoption process, etc with others who have experienced similar things, so that people don’t have to walk these journeys alone. But I know how hard it is to reach out for help when you’re still in the tunnel. It’s easier to recognize this once you can see the light.Side note: There are lots of itnretilify stories in the Bible (although usually followed by the miracle child) But the grief of being childless is very present.

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