According to new data from the Pew Research Center, more and more women are choosing not to have kids in their lifetime.
“The figures show that among all women ages 40-44, about 18 percent, or 1.9 million, were childless in 2008. That’s up from 10 percent, or nearly 580,000 in 1976.”
“Broken down by race, roughly 20 percent of white women are childless, compared with 17 percent of blacks and of Hispanics and 16 percent of Asians. Still that gap has been narrowing: Since 1994, childlessness for blacks and Hispanics has grown by 30 percent, about three times the rate for whites.”
The study offers a variety of reasons for more women choosing never to have kids, including:
The most interesting quote to for me out of the whole story is this:
“Social pressure to bear children appears to have diminished for women and that today, the decision to have a child is seen as an individual choice,” according to the report by Pew researchers Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn.
I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in the South or because it was true for all the girls in my generation, but I feel like the prevailing message when I was little was that having babies was an important role for women and to choose not to have kids was out of the norm.
I’m fascinated that these researchers feel that is changing.
What do you think: Is it more socially acceptable never to have kids? Do you think it’s as true in the South as it is in other parts of the country? Why do you feel that societal role for women is changing?