More U.S. Women Are Going Childless (2015 Report)

More U.S. Women Are Going Childless (2015 Report)

(Link): More U.S. Women Are Going Childless (2015 Report)

  • The percentage of U.S. women in their 30s and 40s who are childless is rising, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.
  • Some 15.3% of U.S. women aged 40 to 44 were childless in June 2014, up from 15.1% in 2012.
  • (Link): Changes in Census’s data processing likely affected its estimates for 2010 to 2012. But even before that, the trend was up: 9.6% of women in this age group were childless in 2010, up from 9.2% in 2008.
  • For women in their late 30s, the rise in childlessness is sharper. Around 18.5% of women 35 to 39 were childless last June, up from 17.2% in 2012.
  • All told, 47.6% of U.S. women aged 15 to 44 were without children last year, up from 46.5% in 2012.

  • The data are the latest to show that childlessness is on the rise in the U.S. as more women (and their partners) delay marriage and childbearing.
  • Because fertility declines significantly for women in their 40s—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define a woman’s child-bearing years as 15 to 44—demographers carefully watch these women to get a sense of how many children Americans are having, or not.
  • Some Americans may now prefer life without children, though most still report in surveys that they want two kids. Others may be struggling to have children, or can’t afford expensive fertility treatments.
  • Juggling work and family is a big factor. Census said women aged 40 to 50 years who were in managerial or professional occupations were more likely to be childless than women of similar age in other occupations.
  • With more women having their first child in their mid 30s, late 30s and early 40s, American families may be shrinking: The number of women aged 40 to 44 who had only one child roughly doubled between 1976 and 2014, Census said.
  • These trends have helped push (Link): America’s fertility rate to record lows, though it should be noted that U.S. fertility still ranks relatively high compared with Europe and Japan, the result of a combination of higher fertility among immigrants, earlier first-births and social mores that facilitate women returning to work after having children, researchers say.
  • Census’s fertility data come from a special supplement to its monthly Current Population Survey, the same survey used for the nation’s jobs report. Every couple of years—the last fertility data collection was 2012—Census gathers information on how many children women have had and relationship status at birth.
  • Besides showing higher childlessness, the latest data indicate that a surprisingly (Link): high percentage of women are cohabiting parents—a trend also visible in recent data from the CDC.
  • Roughly one in five U.S. women whose first birth occurred between January 2000 and June 2014 were cohabiting at the time of that birth, Census said.
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