Everyone Panic: More and More, Married Women Aren't Having Kids

Illustration for article titled Everyone Panic: More and More, Married Women Arent Having Kids

Brace for incoming cultural panic! The L.A. Times reports that, according to the latest numbers, childless married women are becoming more common—at least a little bit, anyway. And it may very well be due to our changing attitudes about marriage.


That's according to new analysis from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, at Bowling Green State University. Researchers found:

The percentage of married women ages 40 to 44 who had no biological children and no other kids in the household, such as adopted children or stepkids, reached 6% in the period from 2006 to 2010. That's a small but statistically significant jump since 1988, when only 4.5% of married women had no kids.


Of course, just because women in their early 40s don't have kids doesn't mean they definitely won't. The majority of women without children do remain unmarried, and there's no way to tell how many of the 6 percent are childfree by choice.

But the Times points out that—the fertility cult of the celebrity pregnancy notwithstanding—more Americans do seem to feel comfortable skipping kids. Laura S. Scott, the director of the Childless by Choice Project, informed the Times that, "There's a resistance to parenthood being the default after marriage," and "People are questioning it in ways that they didn't perhaps 30 or 40 or 50 years ago."

That's thanks in no small part to the ways we're rethinking the point of marriage, says Texas Women's University associate psych prof Debra Mollen: "We've moved away from the idea that the sole or even the primary purpose of marriage is to produce offspring."

In other words, we're increasingly looking for companions—not necessarily coparents.


Image via Shutterstock

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Jane, you ignorant slut.

As a married woman with no biological children, I've recently discovered that 1 in 6 couples struggles with infertility according to the latest statistics (obtained from my infertility specialist doctor). This 1 in 6 rate is obviously much higher than the 6% of women who are childfree. So clearly these kids are coming from somewhere, and lots of people are overcoming fertility hurdles to have them. So if there is a rise in childless adults, that could be attributed to other things - possible rises in infertility rates, miscarriages, and also the skyrocketing cost of adoptions and the always-expensive IVF.

IVF isn't covered under my insurance. If I choose that route, it will be approximately $7,000 per try - with only a 50% chance of success each month. And yet, adoption is even more expensive. So if preliminary infertility treatments don't work out for me, I could see myself saying "screw it". Everything else is outside of my price range.

I do have a stepkid, so technically this statistic doesn't apply to me.