More US women 40 and childless

Posted By on July 4, 2010

From Carolyn Moynihan at Mercatornet:

Nearly one in five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one in ten in the 1970s, the Pew Research Centre reports. Practically the only group of women less likely to be childless now compared with about two decades ago are those with advanced degrees.

No-one will be surprised at the new statistics, based on Census figures for 2006 and 2008, as they confirm everyday observations in many countries…. Bad it may be, but surprising it is not. The contraceptive culture in which today’s 40-somethings have grown up is all about delaying childbearing until some imagined optimum time — a moment that, for an increasing number of women, never comes, or comes when their fertility is all but spent.

Read the rest here. As Carolyn notes, this is a tough knot to untie — so many things feed into this trend. Lots to ponder.

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of eleven children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

9 Responses to “More US women 40 and childless”

  1. Luthor Rex says:

    I’m going to have to disagree on this being a bad thing. As the demographer Philip Longman noted in his article “the return of patriarchy” these women come disproportionately from the political left. The fewer liberal babies born, weather thru contraceptives or abortions the fewer liberal voters there will be in the future. Since the majority of people vote the same way their parents did, conservatives then win by default.

  2. Just to clarify: These demographic trends affect all of us, regardless of our political persuasions. I’ve read Philip Longman and have heard him interviewed, and he does talk a good deal about how “people of faith” are having more children than anyone else–and how (jokingly?) that might drive him to become a person of faith. But the downward demographic trend hurts all of us, because it has cataclysmic effects on national economies (think Greece — think China in another generation). With fewer young people to work and care for the aging population, you’re looking at a disastrous inverse pyramid that is going to hurt conservatives just as much as it will hurt liberals. In the long term, yes, we might see a lot more conservatives having children than liberals. But in the short term, the painful reality of “demographic winter” is going to be a terrible burden on all of us. Not to mention the fact that today’s so-called conservatives haven’t done much of anything to stem the tide of deficit spending into the trillions…. All too soon it will be time to pay the piper, I fear.

  3. dmc1234 says:

    Is this site for real? I am all for respecting women’s rights to have or not have children. It is a personal decision between her and her husband. I was not borne onto this earth for the sole purpose of procreation. I am 48 years old and my choice for not having children has nothing to do with my political views, religious views or putting a career first. Number one, I did not get married until I was 32 years old. Having a child in my twenties, unmarried was not an option. After entering my first marriage, my husband became controlling in addition to being mentally and emotionally abusive. Should I have brought a child into that situation just for the sake of having a child because that is what God expects of me? No. God would not want a child to be put in a bad situation. Two years after my divorce, I found a wonderful man and we have been married for six years now. He has several health issues that are severe. Do you think that it is fair to a child to have a father that might die when the child is young or cannot participate in his/her life 100% because of health issues? No. Be realistic. For most people there is really no “right time” to have children, but I am not going to bring them into this world because that is what the bible says is expected of me. People might be thinking that I am not thinking of the child. But I am. I would want children to be brought into environments that are safe, happy, and with two healthy parents. What about all the welfare moms who bring many children into the world by different men who have nothing to do with the children, children who go hungry at night, children who live in slums. On my judgment day, God will understand why I did not bring children into this world.

  4. dmc, I’d encourage you to check our FAQs and Theme Articles. We don’t believe women were created “for the sole purpose of procreation,” nor do we believe unmarried women on welfare should be having lots of children. We do believe that God both opens and closes the womb and that we can trust Him with our fertility. Some couples will end up having many children; some will have a few; some will have none. And, yes, there are times when couples go through severe health trials where childbearing isn’t possible. Through all of these seasons of life, God can be trusted to care for us as we follow Him. But if we have to wait for perfect, ideal circumstances before we have children, well, most of us will end up in old age with none. Walking by sight, the world seems a terrible mess, and many people believe it is wrong to bring children into it. But walking by faith, we know that children are the future (both figuratively and literally). The children that God gives, God provides for, and He equips us to care for them. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll read on!

  5. Kimberly says:

    I believe that every woman should make the best choices that suit HER life. I am so thankful we live in today’s times. Just a few decades ago, women felt obligated to have children. There were many women who had children because that was what was expected of them. Now, women have a choice in their reproductive habits. It is a choice that was made possible by feminism.

    Sexism in the workplace plays a huge role in why many women are delaying having children or are not having children at all. Many women feel the need to prove themselves to their employers. Having a child, taking time off for pregnancy, and subsequent childcare often damages a woman’s career prospects. They simply aren’t taken too seriously in the workplace. That is sexism, plain and simple. If employers were more accepting and willing to accommodate female employees if they have children, more women would feel comfortable to have both a successful career and as many children as she wants. The U.S. has very a low maternity leave policy and childcare standards compared to other democracies. A woman should be able to have children and also have a successful career if that is what she desires. But because a lot of companies and businesses discriminate against women, women are afraid to have children (even though they want to) because it will hurt their career. It shouldn’t be like this. If you haven’t noticed, men do not have this dilemma. This is a problem that feminism can solve and feminists are actively working to correct this wrong.

    I think it might be hard for some people to accept that some women simply do not have the desire to have children. You have children and love them, I’m sure. Maybe that blinds you when you hear that a woman does not have (or want) kids. There are plenty other ways a woman can feel fulfilled and happy in life. I have absolutely zero desire to have children. I’m 100% happy with this decision and I am confident I won’t live to regret it. I am the least materialistic person I know and money does not concern me, therefore I am not “selfish” for choosing not to have children. I find great joy in getting an education and having a career that satisfies me. By not having children, I will have a great deal of time to help others. I hope to become a lawyer (I’m still getting my undergrad now) and help women in any way I can, though my career and volunteer time.

    Every woman is different. If having children makes you happy, then, by all means, have children. But it is perfectly okay for women to never have children for whatever reason. It doesn’t mean that you are any less of a person or incomplete. I think it’s a great thing that women can choose their own happiness and their own paths in life, don’t you?

  6. fedup says:

    You have got to be kidding me. Do you all actually live in this country? In these times? Please stop using God as a means to chastise free thinkers everywhere. I am a 32 year old, HAPPILY married, home-owning, full time working woman. I love my life and would not trade it for anything. I do not want to, nor will I, have children. My reasons are endless, and we don’t have that kind of time. To put it bluntly, it is no one else’s business what I do or don’t do with my ovaries. I understand that misery loves company, but I prefer to stay on my own, in bliss. Get a grip, women. I would rather be too “far to the left” than stupid, and brainwashed. There are far more people, young and old, in this country as it is. I wish more people felt like I did. Maybe then we wouldn’t need so much “help for our future”, as this article claims, because we wouldn’t have so many dang mouths to feed.

  7. andymichelle says:

    Luther Rex, How can you suggest that it is a good thing if liberals abort their babies because this will result in fewer liberal voters?!? If we conservatives truly believe that children are a blessing from God and human life begins at conception, where is the consistency in such a statement? Those babies are precious in God’s sight, whether they grow up liberal or not. The focus in our conservatism should not be propogating conservatism above valuing human life!!

  8. Proud_Feminist says:

    I’m currently in high school, and my English teacher assigned an essay where we had to talk about whether or not women have made enough advances as far as equal rights. Personally, I don’t think women have, and I stumbled upon this website while trying to find sources to refute in my essay. Oh my goodness. I honestly cannot believe that anyone would believe that women are meant to think of their husbands as “masters” as stated in a previous post. That offends me so much. If someone truly loved you, they would treat you as an equal, and wouldn’t expect you to lower yourself to such extremes. Also, I can’t believe why some people would be against contraceptives. Condoms prevent STDs from spreading. If God doesn’t want you to use condoms, does God want you to contract an STD? If He is really as kind and gentle as you say, why would He wish such a terrible thing on someone? I’ve been on the pill for 3 years. I’m fine. Yes, my doctor told me the risks, and I have been going in for checkups regularly. I take care of myself. I eat healthy. I exercise. I have sex. I don’t get pregnant. I’m a nice person. Big deal.
    I would also like to clarify that feminism is not a bad thing, not by a long shot. Because of those “homewreackers,” women have earned the right to vote, the right to own property, and have legally earned the right to equal pay. Think about this – if it weren’t for the veryh women you despise, you wouldn’t be able to vote for measures against contraceptives, or sex-ed classes.
    I honestly don’t think God cares about birth control, pre-marital sex, or sexual orientation. I believe He only requires you to be the best person you can be.
    While I do respect all of the voices heard on this website, I had to add mine.

  9. I responded to another one of your comments, but I’ll also add a note here. You have not read enough of this site to understand where we are coming from, how we define “feminism,” or what we believe in. Skimming a couple of articles will not give you a full-orbed, well-rounded understanding of our positions. It’s a bit like reading the table of contents and saying you know the author’s conclusions without even reading her arguments. I strongly recommend reading our Theme Articles as well as our introductory piece. I’d also recommend a strong dose of history. “You Don’t Know Feminism” would be one place to begin.

    As for God condemning people to STDs, there is a very simple way to avoid them. Marry for life and remain faithful to your spouse! When both spouses are faithful and monogamous, there is an absolute guarantee that neither will contract an STD (outside of a rare tainted blood transfusion). That is God’s blessing. So, no, God doesn’t want me to contract an STD and has given me a fool-proof way to avoid that path. That is truly kind and gentle of Him. But you don’t think God cares about birth control, pre-marital sex, or sexual orientation and only requires that “you be the best person you can be.” How do you know? What source do you have that tells you the mind of God or explains what He thinks of these things? Without a transcendent, personal God, we are all blindly struggling to find some kind of truth on our own–rationally or irrationally. This only leads to chaos, as you have over six billion people trying to independently arrive at what is good, true, and right. How do we define what is “best” for each person? I highly recommend reading through the articles we have under “Foundations of Truth” (more in the archives), as it is vitally important to understand where we can find an unchanging foundation for truth. Without it, any opinion is just as valid as another, which means what one culture defines as “consensual” another can define as “rape,” and no one can say “nay” to either definition. But we all know it doesn’t work that way.

    I live in Kenya. Women here struggle in ways the women of the West cannot even imagine. There are campaigns here to teach boys to stop beating girls…to death. Where are the feminists on this issue? Absent, because they are afraid of stepping in when these beatings are done in the name of Islam (which is touted as a religion of “peace” in the US). So Christians over here are working tirelessly to teach boys and men that women are to be treated with honor and protected rather than harmed. Those teachings come from the Bible–not from the Q’uran. Not from the pagan animist tribes surrounding us (which treat women as beasts of burden). Christianity has raised up women everywhere it has gone in the world. Paganism exploits and hurts women. Doesn’t mean Christianity has been perfect, but it has done more for women than any feminist creed or movement, as long ages of history attest (I recommend Alvin Schmidt’s book, How Christianity Changed the World, plus Charles Schmidt’s book, The Social Results of Early Christianity, available free on Google books). Women’s right to purchase and own property? Right out of the Old Testament. Right to inheritance? Also out of the Old Testament. Right to demand support for her children in the case of abandonment? Bible again. These are God-given rights, which, as our own Founders declared, are “unalienable” because they come from a transcendent (unchanging) Source of law–the Creator. What man gives, man can take away. “Rights” do not come from thin air.

    Finally, I encourage you to revisit the issue of submission in marriage. It’s not about husbands being overlords or fearsome masters. Quite the contrary. You have masters. You obey them on a daily basis. I challenge you to deny it. 😉 Every time you stop at a red light, you acknowledge the State’s mastery over your freedom to drive. Every time you yield at an intersection, you give way to other vehicles that have “mastery” of that particular section of the roadway. Every time you pay for something in the checkout line, you acknowledge the right of the store to “master” your money rather than allowing you to steal what belongs to the store and the creator of the item you wish to purchase. All of life involves submission in multitudinous ways. I submit to the wisdom of my dentist when I need a tooth filled. I submit to a teacher who has mastered a subject I wish to learn. None of this mastery involves direct coersion or top-down pressure. I am a willing participant in these exchanges. Male and female are equal in human dignity, value, and worth–both made in the image of God. In marriage, the wife has a right to “command” her husband’s body (see I Corinthians 7:4); he is not given sole command of the sexual relationship. However, just as Christ submitted to the will of the Father (while maintaining equal value and worth in the trinity), so a wife submits to her husband. That doesn’t mean lying down like a passive doormat and letting the husband do everything without question. In fact, Scripture gives example after example of wise, strong women giving good advice, counsel, and more to their husbands as part of their role as “helpmate.” Read Proverbs 31 for the best description of the wise wife (who also owns and runs her own business from home and invests her earnings into the family estate). It’s important to try to understand the Scriptural definition of “submission” rather than inserting what you think it is. It’s very easy to burn down straw men. 😉

    Keep reading. Ask questions. That’s how we all learn.