The history behind being child free.

Recently I have been thinking to myself, “I wonder when couples started vocalizing their child free status?”  That is why I am bringing you this blog post!  I have done some research into statistics on child free couples and non-reproducing females.  I think these numbers are very important in understanding the dynamics of a child free lifestyle, mostly socially, as the years go by.

My research, which I like to keep as up to date as possible, brought me to David Foot from the University of Toronto.  David Foot is an economist and demographer and has studied at the University of Western Australia and Harvard University.  In 2016 he released a statement on the education level of a person versus the probability of that same person reproducing.  According to Mr.  Foot the higher a women’s education level is, the less likely she is to procreate.  The more educated a couple is as a whole, the less likely they are to have children.

If a higher education level is inversely proportional to the amount of children that you have, what does that mean, exactly?  I believe this means that the more educated that someone is, the more likely they are to have found a greater purpose than having children.  A major reason people have children is to create purpose for themselves.  Having children can be viewed as “an easy way out” of having to find purpose for yourself.  Having a child means you now have a purpose without having to go to school for years on end or suffer through multiple jobs before a purpose is established.  After all, in high school we are already conditioned to have a career picked out.  Is this concept really that challenging to accept?

In 1970 the child free movement started gaining traction.  The only proof we have of this, next to personal testimony, is the literature that was being published.  For example, in 1971 The Baby Trap, By Ellen Peck was released.  This book details the life of child free couples, and mainly the ups and downs of the typical family model.  Another piece called Mother’s Day is Over, by Shirley Rogers Rad, details the impact children haves on individuals.  A reader of the book commented “The quote on the front cover “If you could start over, would you have children again?” 70% of American mothers said NO! in an Ann Landers poll.”  This apparently inspired the commenter to read the book, even though she has children.

Child free women are usually the subject of questioning when it comes to understanding the child free lifestyle.  The percent of women in the United States population aged 40-44 and had not had children (and felt comfortable enough admitting so) was 10% in 1976.  In 2005 that number rose to 20% and it has dipped in 2014 to 15%.  As I kept researching I was shocked that the number had dipped.  Personally, this makes me wonder if talking about having a child free lifestyle is as taboo as being child free in the first place.  With this in mind I do take these numbers lightly, and research them often for updates.  These statistics are the most widely used.

I believe that these statistics are not only sparse, but inaccurate.  I believe that since it is taboo, and apparently immoralal as according to this MNN article, people are finding it hard to open up about their lifestyle.  This leads to inaccurate numbers in statistical findings and, therefore, incorrect data.

Before completely concluding this practically TL;DR…

One amazing thing that I came across while researching was the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood.  As a support group they help child free people with the roller coaster that i being child free.  As an advocacy group they say “No Way!” to pronatalism and spread awareness of the overpopulation of the earth.

One amazing factoid that I will leave you with: they have deemed August 1st non-parent’s day.  So mark that shit on your calendar and have a drink!



Livingston, Gretchen. “Childlessness”. 2015


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