The Choice To Be Childfree

This Program Is Rebroadcast From August 23, 2013

Childless by choice.  We look at the trend of couples saying “no thanks” to having kids.

(Jenny Huey/Flickr)

(Jenny Huey/Flickr)

In 1970, just one in ten American women never bore a child.  Today, it’s one in five.  More and more American women, men, couples are going childfree.  Once there was a stigma.  Today it’s not so clear.

Some of the childfree say it’s too expensive.  Some say the world’s population is enough.  Some say it’s too much trouble.  They’re just not inclined.  The Bible says “be fruitful and multiply.”  We’ve certainly done that.  What about the childfree way?  For individuals?  Couples?  For society?

This hour, On Point:  going childfree in America.

– Tom Ashbrook


Lauren Sandler, author of the Time magazine article “Having It All Without Having Children.” Also author of “One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One.”

Laura Scott, director of the Childless by Choice Project. Author of “Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice.”

D’Vera Cohn, senior writer at the Pew Research Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time Magazine: Having It All Without Having Children — “The decision to have a child or not is a private one, but it takes place, in America, in a culture that often equates womanhood with motherhood. Any national discussion about the struggle to reconcile womanhood with modernity tends to begin and end with one subject: parenting. If you’re a woman who’s not in the mommy trenches, more often than not you’re excluded from the discussion.”

CBS News: What it costs to raise a kid: $241,080 — “Psst! Want an easy way to save a fortune? Don’t have kids.  Children will cost you roughly one-quarter of a million dollars before they turn age 18. If you send them to college, you could spend twice as much, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Los Angeles Times: Parenthood Optional — “That’s why this whole childlessness discussion needs to be reframed. It’s great that Time is moving in the direction of validating those who, by choice or circumstance, will never be parents. But the point is not simply that society should stop judging those of us who don’t have children. It’s that society actually needs us. Children need us. It may take a village to raise a child, but not every villager needs to be a mom or dad. Some of us just need to be who we are. The children we never had would thank us. And so should you.”

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