The childfree trend is experiencing its biggest mainstream-media moment ever thanks to Time’s new cover story: “The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children.”
(And the magazine gets kudos for using the word childfree as opposed to childless.)
Writer Lauren Sandler notes that an increasing percentage of Americans are bypassing parenting:
The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history, which includes the fertility crash of the Great Depression. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s. Even before the recession hit, in 2008, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who had never given birth had grown by 80%, from 10% to 18%, since 1976, when a new vanguard began to question the reproductive imperative. These statistics may not have the heft of childlessness in some European countries — like Italy, where nearly one-quarter of women never give birth — but the rise is both dramatic and, in the scope of our history, quite sudden.
She discusses the immense social pressure to have kids, and some of the upsides for those who resist that pressure. For starters, the financial upsides. Consider “the sheer economic cost of raising a child — for a child born in 2011, an average of $234,900 until age 18, according to the USDA, and $390,000 if your household earns over $100,000.” And the cost of taking time off from work to raise kids: “The opportunity costs for an American woman who gets off the career track could average as high as $1 million in lost salary, lost promotions and so on, economist Bryan Caplan says.”
And then there’s the sense of freedom, as articulated by one childfree woman:
Read the rest of the post at Grist.org.