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I plan on having an upcoming #VerballyDisastrous podcast topic on the pros & cons of a woman choosing to not have children. I know a few ladies who have chosen to not have children. I plan to have a fellow trade sister Vanessa on the podcast to discuss the topic. I am looking forward to speaking with her on the subject as a woman who had chosen to not have children earlier in her life and career. Let’s first look at the statistics on women who have chosen to have children.
I found a few articles (sources below) that help us to get a better sense of what the current trends are today for women either having children or choosing not to have children. According to 2016 Pew Research analysis of the U.S. Census data (article was published on January 18, 2018), there is an increase of women having children within the past ten years. According to the study, “some 86% of women ages 40 to 44 are mothers, compared with 80% in 2006”. It appears that there is an increase compared to women of the 1990s along with the slight increase in the number of children per mother. “Overall, women have 2.07 children during their lives on average – up from 1.86 in 2006, the lowest number on record. And among those who are mothers, family size has also ticked up. In 2016, mothers at the end of their childbearing years had had about 2.42 children, compared with a low of 2.31 in 2008.” – according to the Pew Social Trends online article.
It appears that women are rebounding on the choice to be mothers within the past decade. However, they are doing it at a later age in life compared to previous generations of women. Factors such as the Great Recession, pursuing college educations, women in the work force, and shifts in societal and cultural norms have all contributed to push motherhood into later years. I found the whole juggling of the career and motherhood roles to be absolutely exhausting. I cannot even fathom what it is like to have children in my 40’s or higher. I shall reserve that topic for another future post and discussion on Verbally Disastrous with women who have that experience. I need to now look at the percentage of the population that has chosen to not have children. According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, 2017 marked the lowest year of births of the past 30 years. For every 1,000 women aged 15-44 years old, there were 60.3 births. This is compared to 64.1 births for every 1,000 women in 2010. According to a 2018 New York Times poll, women cite costs of daycare, better lifestyle choices, lack of suitable partners, and a lack of financial stability as main reasons for not having children. According to the Department of Agriculture, the 2018 estimated cost of raising a child is $233, 610 (excluding college tuition). The U.S. is not the only place experiencing changes with the birth rate. For the purpose of boosting the stagnant population, China had implemented a two child rule in back in 2015. Throughout many countries around the globe, a legend exists of female infanticide. According to the Office for National Statistics in 2017, England and Wales have also experienced the lowest rate of births in the past decade.
High or low rates, depending on the statistic, of childlessness is not exclusive to current times. Northwestern European towns had a high rate of childless women from the year 1500 and forward. There were different eras that attempted to increase the birth rate from women via different forms of persecution. Childless women who lived in the 1600’s were accused of being witches and hanged for the accused offense. A sizeable number of women born on and around 1900 were childless at an estimated 24%. The Baby Boomer era, that lasted from 1946 to 1964, saw a sharp increase in births that lasted for almost 20 years. The birth rate then started declining after the Baby Boomer era. According to the Statista 2018 Childless Women Bar Chart, young women between 15-19 years old are without child at a rate of 96.9%. By the time women reach the 45-50 year old range, the childless rate drops to 15.4%. When you compare women the different women by ethnic groups between 1992-1994 and 2006-2008, there is a relatively equal increase amongst all groups between 2-4%. There is a huge difference, at a rate of 60%, between women were ever married vs never married back in 1992-94. This is versus the difference of 43% in the years 2006 to 2008. However, the rate of change between the 1992-94 & 2006-08 ever married vs never married groups is at a 2% increase and a 15% decrease respectively. According to the statistics, more women were childless in 1900 compared to modern women as late as 2018. Life was significantly harder earlier in life. I wonder if the odds of a higher infant mortality rate, as a result of inadequate medical care, around the year 1900 factors at all into the almost a quarter women as childless rate? The cost of living and raising a family is significantly higher in 2018 vs back in 1900. Women having modern appliances and technology do make the job of being a mother a lot easier than almost 120 years ago. What do you think about the presented statistics?
Now lets check out my list of pros & cons of choosing to not have kiddos:
PROS OF NOT BECOMING A MOTHER:
- A WOMAN’S FREEDOM IS PRESERVED
- FINANCIAL RESOURCES ARE PRESERVED
- TIME IS PRESERVED FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
- NO CONCERN FOR A FATHER STAYING IN THE PICTURE
- A WOMAN IS ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF HER OWN NEEDS
- NO CONCERN OF BIRTHING A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD
- NO CONCERN TO DEAL WITH A BAD TEENAGER
- NOT BEING A BURDEN TO CHILDREN BECAUSE OF AGING
- THE RISK OF DYING IN CHILD BIRTH IS ELIMINATED
- PRE-EXISTING HEALTH ISSUES ARE INSULATED FROM MORE ISSUES
- SAVED FROM SIX YEARS OF BAD SLEEP
CONS OF NOT BECOMING A MOTHER:
- NO CHILDREN TO LOOK AFTER THE WOMAN AS AN ELDERLY WOMAN
- NO CHILDREN TO PASS ON THE ESTATE
- NO CHILDREN TO BURY THE DECEASED WOMAN
- NO CHILDREN TO PASS YOUR GENES AND EXTEND YOUR LINEAGE
- MISSING OUT ON VARIOUS TAX BREAKS
My personal summary on the subject:
I personally believe that women should be allowed to choose what to do with their body. I am sure that topic will be another future topic to discuss. Having children requires a tremendous amount of time, patience, and resources. Not everyone is cut out for the 18+ year project getting them to adulthood. Some women have their own health problems that they must focus on. Not all disabilities a child may have show up in prenatal testing before the child is born. The next layer of uncertainty is hoping that the father will stick around in the picture for the child. Even if you follow the rules by the book, there is not guarantee that your child will be a productive member in society. If women do not want to be a baby making machine, they do not have to do so. That choice has no negative impact on my life and on the planet. Perhaps that choice will be simpler for women of today and the future. Perhaps the societal pressure of maternal expectations will diminish in time. The only way not having children will impact society is if large groups of women make that same choice. This then causes the number of people paying taxes and social security are not existing to maintain the American economy.
Do you have any constructive thoughts on the topic of women choosing to not be mothers? If the comment is of genuine curiosity and/or tactful in nature, I will bring it up on the podcast with my guest co-host.
Leslie M. Jasper
-Author & Host of the #VerballyDisastrous podcast on Spotify
*I am going to write a future post about the qualities that modern men want to see in modern independent women in order to determine that they are marriage material. Stay tuned!*
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They’re Waiting Longer, but U.S. Women Today More Likely to Have Children Than a Decade Ago: More than half of never-married women in their early 40s have given birth: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/01/18/theyre-waiting-longer-but-u-s-women-today-more-likely-to-have-children-than-a-decade-ago/#:~:text=Overall%2C%20women%20have%202.07%20children,the%20lowest%20number%20on%20record.&text=In%202016%2C%20mothers%20at%20the,low%20of%202.31%20in%202008.
21 Truths About People Who Don’t Have Children: Things you never knew about the history and psychology of people with no kids. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/202001/21-truths-about-people-who-dont-have-children
‘It’s just not for me’: Why a growing number of women are saying no to parenthood: Marina Pitofsky -USA TODAY https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/29/childfree-women-parenting-parenthood-no-kids/3153546002/
Statista: Percentage of childless women in the United States in 2018, by age https://www.statista.com/statistics/241535/percentage-of-childless-women-in-the-us-by-age/
Childlessness Up Among All Women; Down Among Women with Advanced Degrees -BY GRETCHEN LIVINGSTON AND D’VERA COHN https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/06/25/childlessness-up-among-all-women-down-among-women-with-advanced-degrees/