No-Kids, more and more people choose life without children (and regrets)

Gianluca Riccio

Society

Borderline case from a study in Michigan (USA): 1 in 5 adults chooses a life without children, but the trend is growing in many countries

The traditional image of the family, once considered universal and immutable, is undergoing a significant transformation process. An in-depth investigation conducted in Michigan (I link it to you here) reveals that approximately 20% of adults have made a conscious and definitive decision: to live without children.

In addition to quantifying this trend, the study explores the reasons, experiences and social perceptions of those choosing an alternative life path.

A growing phenomenon

This trend is not an isolated phenomenon. In various parts of the world, we observe an increasing number of adults opting for a life without children. According to a report from the National Institute of Statistics of UK, 18% of women born in 1970 had not had children by the time they reached 45, compared to 10% of women born in 1945. More details can be found in the report titled “Childbearing for women born in different years, England and Wales” available www.ons.gov.uk

In Italy, according to research conducted by the University of Padua and the Cariparo Foundation, there has been a boom in childless adults over the last fifty years. One in four women of those born in 1979 he is in this condition: it is 22,6%.

In Japan, around 3 out of 10 women born in the mid-70s remain permanently childless. This phenomenon is closely associated with the decline of marriage and the increase in permanent singleness.

the data clearly intersects with that of births: a panorama that shows a real “epidemic” of empty cots.

Without children

The reasons for a choice

The reasons behind choosing a life without children are multiple and complex. Some individuals cite personal freedom, career aspirations, or a desire to focus on relationships and hobbies.

Others express concerns about the environment and the future of the planet, or about economic and social issues that make parenting less attractive or feasible.

The decision not to have children can have a significant impact not only on the lives of individuals, but also on the social and cultural fabric. Traditionally family- and parenting-oriented societies are facing challenges in redefining norms and expectations. Reflections on welfare policies, support structures for the elderly, and work and market dynamics will also be needed.

Living without children: the stigma is always the same

Despite the increase in this trend, preconceptions and stereotypes persist. Adults without children are often subjected to judgment and prejudice, with the assumption that they may regret their choice or that they lack a 'complete' life experience.

The Michigan study, and similar research in other regions of the world, however, challenges traditional narratives by showing that a good portion of childless adults do not experience (or do not show) major regrets.

The choice not to have children, once considered anomalous or exceptional, is becoming a legitimate and recognized part of modern life options. In a rapidly changing world, it is critical that societies and policies adapt to accommodate and support the diversity of lifestyle choices, including the decision to live childfree. An inclusive and open approach to various forms of family and personal relationships is essential to building fair societies that respect individual choices.


References:

  • “Prevalence, age of decision, and interpersonal warmth judgments of childfree adults: Replication and extensions”, Jennifer Watling Neal

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