Living a ‘childfree’ life: 1 in 5 adults don’t want to have kids

“Women who decided in their teens to be childfree are now, on average, nearly 40 and still do not have children.”

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Are families about to find themselves on the endangered species list? Researchers from Michigan State University find that over one in five adults don’t want children. Interestingly, the survey also indicates that Americans are deciding against being a parent quite early in life, most often in their teens or early twenties.

“We found that 21.6% of adults, or about 1.7 million people, in Michigan do not want children and therefore are ‘childfree.’ That’s more than the population of Michigan’s nine largest cities,” says study co-author Zachary Neal, an associate professor in MSU’s psychology department, in a university release.

Study authors used just three questions to separate “childfree” individuals from parents and other varieties of non-parents. The analyzed data comes from a representative sample of 1,500 adults who completed MSU’s State of the State Survey, conducted by the university’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

According to Prof. Neal, it’s impossible to distinguish between different types of non-parents using official statistics. So, this research project is among the first to focus specifically on counting adults who choose not to have children (childfree).

“People — especially women — who say they don’t want children are often told they’ll change their mind, but the study found otherwise,” explains study co-author Jennifer Watling Neal, an associate professor in the psychology department at MSU. “People are making the decision to be childfree early in life, most often in their teens and twenties. And, it’s not just young people claiming they don’t want children. Women who decided in their teens to be childfree are now, on average, nearly 40 and still do not have children.”

Over 50 million people want to avoid parenthood

While this study only included Michigan residents, researchers point out that Michigan is actually quite demographically similar to the United States as a whole — according to the 2021 U.S. census. If the trend in this survey holds up across the entire nation, that would mean roughly 50 to 60 million Americans want to stay childfree.

“Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, a large number of Americans are now at risk of being forced to have children despite not wanting them,” Prof. Watling Neal concludes.

Study authors add that if the courts overturn further precedents and birth control measures become harder to access across the U.S. it could result in more hurdles for many young women deciding to be childfree.

In conclusion, the research team believe childfree Americans deserve more attention as a growing demographic. They are hopeful that future research projects will do more to better understand why so many Americans are choosing to avoid parenthood, as well as the repercussions of choosing such a lifestyle.

The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

YouTube video


    1. How many mothers are throwing their children over barbwire fences to leave this country to escape the “Christian Taliban”? Clinging to landing gear of planes while trying to escape the US? Just curious. Your attempt to compare pro life people to a the Taliban is pathetic and ignorant. You are free to leave the US whenever you want. The “Christian Taliban” is fine with it. Then try leaving Afghanistan without the real Taliban’s permission. If you knew anyone who had their family murdered by the Taliban you hopefully would feel a little bit of shame for this comparison.

      1. Hang on. That’s coming too. When the Christian Taliban takes control of ALL our bodies. That is the goal of the rich elites to take charge of the labor force using religion. It works every time.

  1. I was 13 when I decided I wanted to be childfree. I am not 66 and don’t regret it at all. It scares me that others like me may not have the choice.

    1. I made that decision when I was in college. I made it a reality when I was 27. For those who are curious, I was married at the time and my husband had no problem with it. That was several decades ago and I’ve had no regrets. With the planet going down the tubes, and this country on the precipice of becoming a fascist country, I am even more satisfied with my decision. You wouldn’t believe the number of women who tell me how much they envy me for remaining childless, and they say if they had it to do all over, they would not have had kids. Not that they don’t love kids, but you can’t miss what you don’t have.

  2. Same people that will complain about the lack of workers when they are old and a not so comfortable retirement. People not having kids has long term repercussions unless we can completely replace human labor with automation. Just ask china – they are freaking out about their long term demographic prospects.

    1. WTF are you talking about??? If one chooses to not have children, they have to live with the consequences thereof. How dare they complain! I’m 69 now and when I was 12, I decided I was never going to get married or have kids. After living with two highly dysfunctional parents- watching my alcoholic, perverted father constantly beat my alcoholic mother, I decided I (or any child of mine) would never be subject to that kind of hell, ever!
      I won’t say whether I’m male or female but I never had a hand in bringing children into the world . I neither got anyone pregnant nor have I ever been pregnant. For years I have watched people mock virginity, but the chaste don’t get into bad relationships, get STD’s or
      abortions. I KNEW if I CHOSE to be single and childless, that there would never be anyone to take care of me in my old age, and I was right! I’ve always been alone with no support group. I worked all my life to support myself in my old age. I’m currently looking into moving into a Senior Living Community.
      Just because someone has children, that doesn’t mean their children will take care of them in their old age. The Adult Children with money can afford to hire someone to take care of their elderly parents or ship them off to some fancy retirement home, and the ones without much money get stuck with the burden of taking care of their elderly parents.
      My next door neighbor lady who is in her 70’s now has dementia. The family has always lived right at the poverty line. That lady went without, so that her family could have. I helped them as much as I could. Her sacrifices were for nothing. Her eldest son won’t help, her daughter can’t help her (she has some kind of degenerative muscle disease and is in a wheelchair), so the burden falls on the youngest son who works 12 hours every day, has a wife to support and drives 20 miles back and forth to work every day. The poor guy is at the end of his rope.
      Having children is a life-altering event. Most people don’t take it seriously. Consequently, there are MILLIONS of aborted/ unwanted, neglected and abused children.People need to stop looking for others to help them and do whatever they can to help themselves.

  3. If you don’t want children it’s fine with me. Just get a Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation, both that are reversable if you change your mind. Better and safer than murdering innocent babies in the womb as Birth Control.

  4. I waited until I was 40 to start a family and at that point I was ambivalent about it – I was enjoying career success and wondered why I would want to muck that up with kids. I am so glad I did- all of the cliches are true; I can see now that life prior was somewhat hollow and adolescent, and the love I experience everyday is profound. I hope folks are openminded about the idea- it’s a true blessing.

  5. I waited until I was 40 to start a family and at that point I was ambivalent about it – I was enjoying career success and wondered why I would want to mess that up with kids. I am so glad I did- all of the cliches are true; I can see now that life prior was somewhat hollow and adolescent, and the love I experience everyday is profound. I hope folks are openminded about the idea- it’s a true blessing.

  6. “ Americans are now at risk of being forced to have children despite not wanting them,” Prof. Watling Neal concludes.”

    No, get fixed, stop killing.

    1. You’re incredibly ignorant. I sought out and met with multiple Doctors for sterilization in my twenties and thirties and, ironically, because I was not already a parent, I was told each time by the Doctor they would not perform the surgery because I could change my mind and they did not want to be held accountable if I regretted my decision.

      And before you come back with some snarky retort about contraceptives let me help you out: not every one of us can take the pill or have an IUD inserted. And conversely, not every woman using the pill or an IUD is doing so to prevent pregnancy.

      And good luck getting men to to wear condoms! Most try to remove them covertly during intercourse or have paynus dysmorphia and buy one that’s two sizes too big.

    2. These pro-abortion females are always yapping, “My body, my choice.”
      Hey ladies- keeping your legs together is also a choice. So is having your tubes tied.

  7. “ Americans are now at risk of being forced to have children despite not wanting them,” Prof. Watling Neal concludes.”

    Fucking propaganda page, this one is. You are absolutely full of horse poo.

    1. Everything way too expensive and the world is way too violent to bring innocent children into it. Enjoy your life, you have to worry about children for the rest of your life,…get a puppy instead and you can stay in mom’s basement and continue to play videos games will your elders go to work and maintain your easy lifestyle.

  8. If you have no children then who will look out for you when you’re old, feeble and unable to make decisions for yourself? Answer: nobody.

  9. The first trimester abortion limits are perfectly reasonable amount of time to change your mind. At some point it’s an actual child human and the earliest premmie live birth I’m aware of was 4 and a half months.
    On the other side, some of the bills I’ve seen proposed attempting to take away freedom of travel for abortions are repugnant.

  10. I am not surprised by this. We have two young couples in our neighborhood who do not want children. They have dogs. They’ve both been up front about why they don’t want kids – the state of the world, COVID, inflation and the way the country is apparently heading. Can’t say I blame them; my heart breaks for my grandchildren.

  11. Women need to think long and hard about how life in climate change will be very, very difficult. And if they want their children to suffer. I decided I didn’t want my children in the future to fight others for clean air, food, water, jobs, everything needed for life. That doesn’t sound like a good life. I’m not so arrogant to believe my genes are so special, they should go on. They aren’t. My children will not suffer. It’s a realistic and mature decision to make.

  12. I have to believe that not all, but many younger folks come to regret their decision to forego children and family. I can think of several instances in my personal circle where people initially decided don’t want or postponed indefinitely and now it’s too late to reverse course. Raising kids is exhaustive, expensive, and requires unimaginable sacrifice up front, yet the rewards down the road are enormous. But what are you left with down the road of life with no family to share it with? I imagine it looks quite monotonous, uninspired, and relatively joyless in one’s golden years, a dead man walking, just marking time. Yes I understand some people will be quite happy living a perpetual gonzo lifestyle, traveling and working abroad until the day they die. But that isn’t most people who want to or are able to live that lifestyle. The reality for most spinster women in particular is much more depressing. Men over the age of 40 with no kids usually come with big red flags as any single woman of comparable age will tell you.

  13. Many of them are doing the world a favor as they would probably raise a selfish little brat that would in turn curse the world by breeding more selfish brats and the cycle would Continue.

    1. Millions of people die with no family around: soldiers on the battlefield, victims of natural disasters, car wrecks……. there are thousands of ways in which people die without family around. Once one is dead, they’re dead. Family or no family.

  14. I am 72 and decided at 19 I didn’t want to have children. I acquired a stepdaughter at age 7 who lived with us full time from age 7-22. That was just fine. I have never regretted my decision.

  15. I almost didn’t have children so I know where people are coming from. I had my first child when I was 39. So glad I was able to be a father of two beautiful children. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, the hardest thing I’ve ever done and nothing else has even come close to how satisfying it is. I can’t imagine my life without them now. I genuinely didn’t have a clue what I was missing.

  16. Not withstanding anyone unable to conceive, but being a childless weirdo gets old after a certain # of years. While everyone else is raising a family and you’re still living like you’re 24 it’s not a good look in your 40’s.

    1. @ HuLiOh: People like you have romanticized the family too much. How many men and women have walked away from their families because they either couldn’t stomach being the primary caregiver anymore, or didn’t have the means to properly take care of their family???? How many parents have worked themselves to death to provide for the children they thought they should have? How many parents have raised stupid, ungrateful children that have turned around and bit the hand that fed them???
      Being a parent sucks. Being the child of abusive parents sucks.

  17. It’s pretty simple really. Endless taxation, inflation, and welfare systems continue to punish the hard working middle class. The average cost to raise a child is something like $1M today. And full grown adults in college are being referred to as “kids” and treated as such. The real question here is who does want children and why?

  18. I’m 81. I’ve heard this my entire adult life, at least in the U.S. I left for Asia when I was 19. Got back in the late 1960s and started college. I heard that generation claiming never to have kids because America was a terrible place. I said the same thing. If the left had kept their word, we wouldn’t have the chaos we have today. None of the wackos would have been born. My first kid was a boy. Not planned. My 2nd was a boy. Not planned. My 3rd was a girl. Planned. When I brought my 1st from the hospital my life changed 180 degrees. No more just going to the movies, road trips, bare boating the Caribbean, cheating on my wife – no more. Now I was a father. It took me many months to become a “dad”, but once it happened the magic occurred and I wanted more of it. I was 38 with the first. Best thing I’ve ever done was to be a “dad”. I was a fool to think differently.

  19. Why would anyone want to bring a child into this world at this time? I knew, for various reasons I never wanted children, I was 12. 60 now, no regrets.

  20. My wife and I have had four children and are now retired. We spent a lot of money raising them and sending them to college. They now all have well-paying, full-time jobs. Since their FICA taxes fund the social security payments of people who are now retired, can my wife and I receive higher monthly social security payments than people who purposely chose not to have kids? It seems to me that people who choose not to have children are being socially irresponsible and expect the rest of us who have had children to fund their retirement vicariously through our kids. You chose not to have children? Fine. You’ve saved a lot of money. Why should my kids fund your social security benefits? Let’s have a graduated social security benefit scale based on the number of tax-paying children that you have supplied to benefit our country.

    1. @Vergilius: People like you make me sick. You think that because I don’t have children I’m a millionaire???? Having children was YOUR choice. Not having children was MY choice.
      I was never a burden on anyone. I worked my entire life supporting myself and over-paying my taxes. If you had money to fritter raising children, why should I be cheated out of my fair share of SS? You want to talk about Social Responsibility??? I paid my taxes. The taxes I paid supported other people’s children. I don’t have a criminal record. I never had children out of wedlock or an STD.
      I worked a total of 48 years to have what I have. Do you think it’s been all fun and games? I do not now nor have I ever had any kind of support group: not parents, siblings, relatives, co-workers, church, State, Government or charity organization. No one has helped me.
      Where was help for me when I went hungry, or couldn’t pay my bills, or broke my ankle, or was without a hot water heater for 5 months (from late September to the middle of February), or had no refrigerator for two years?????
      Fck you and the dog you rode in on.

  21. children born to mature people are often very welcome , women and men can have children anytime . the best time is when they are mature adults

  22. People who don’t contribute to the future by providing offspring should be punitively taxed and those who have children should receive massive tax breaks that are financed by the punitive taxes the leeches, parasites and non-contributors have to cough up.

    1. @ Steeevyo: “People who don’t contribute to the future by providing offspring…..”

      Are you some kind of retard??? We have no future. Neither do those kids you’re shatting out. The world is so overpopulated now that resources are running out. There are billions of people on this planet. The elites are trying to kill us off as it is. If they can’t poison us with that phony Covid “vaccine” or Monkeypox then they’ll starve us to death. Even as we speak, farmers are being told to plow under their crops and slaughter their cattle. You and your kids are going to starve along with us people who never had children. At least I won’t have to watch my children suffer.

    2. What about the property taxes child-free people pay for decades that help pay for schools that they don’t use (because they don’t have children), all the social programs for children, tax credits for children (which means a person with children is paying less taxes than those without children)? Child free people are paying for your kids their whole lives so get off your high horse.

  23. Children are a blessing and keep things fresh and spontaneous. It’s a shame the culture of the cool people don’t welcome the babies.

  24. Just ask the Chinese CC P what it costs a country, when they limit married couples to one child.
    They may be forced to make a premature move to become the dominate world power.
    If they wait another generation, they will not have enough young men to fight!

    1. @Jack: The CCP slaughtered the female babies. Their culture places importance on sons who can carry on the family name. What crap. Now there’s 30 million men who can’t find wives.
      They work at their jobs or on their farms alone, and take care of their elderly parents.
      Women (and children) have always been treated like cattle. Sold and bought. Not just in China but all over the world. They were used as bargaining chips to seal agreements, or sold to houses of prostitution to pay off debts.
      No wonder women rebelled and burned their bras.

  25. This is good news… these people are leftist democrats. That they are not reproducing is fantastic and a real positive for American society.

    1. I loved my children enough not to bring them into this world full of vitriol and hate thanks to Cons…the party of division, oppression and totalitarianism.

      1. @jep jep: You have God-given wisdom.

        Luke 23:29
        For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

  26. This is more the white people I think. In Texas Spanish have a birthrate of 9 times the white birthrate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *