Survey: young, unmarried women explain why they avoid having children

This article comes from the leftist Huffington Post.

They write:

The Huffington Post and YouGov asked 124 women why they choose to be childfree. Their motivations ranged from preferring their current lifestyles (64 percent) to prioritizing their careers (9 percent) — a.k.a. fairly universal things that have motivated men not to have children for centuries. To give insight into the complex, layered decisions women make, HuffPost asked childfree readers to discuss the reasons they have chosen not to have kids and gathered 270 responses here.

They grouped the responses into 5 categories:

  1. I want to prioritize my career
  2. I don’t like children
  3. I had a bad relationship with my parents
  4. I don’t want the financial responsibility
  5. I like my life as it is

And here are some interesting quotations:

Category 1:

I am a first-generation college graduate in my family. My mother was a single mom my entire childhood, and I was there to see that struggle. Being a parent, for a woman, means for life. Being a parent, for men, seems to be something very different. I understand raising children is a big life change and I don’t want to sell myself short on my potential to become something more and maybe even create change. I am childfree because I want to travel, move, pursue my career wholly and be able to push myself to be an inspiration to other women. If a child comes into my life, it won’t be until I am happy and successful in my work life, and not until I am secure with my finances and a marriage. I don’t want to one day wake up as an old woman wishing I had waited to have children so I could live my own life first, make mistakes, learn new things and find myself. Today kids are not for me.

Category 2:

I’m nearly 47; my boyfriend (domestic partner) of 17 years is nearly 50. I’ve never been pregnant and have taken every precaution to remain childfree. I tolerate other people’s children when I have to. I’m happiest when there are NO children around. I definitely don’t want them in my home. I like my life as it is. My boyfriend and I are both scientists. We also raise snakes and spiders! We like to travel. We travel to ride roller coasters (members of ACE — American Coaster Enthusiasts) and to attend rock concerts. I am also a performer in a senior winter guard. My plate overfloweth! I see no reason to procreate. I would be unhappy. Why be unhappy?

Category 3:

I have a great relationship with my husband. We have the time and money to travel, and that gives us precious memories. I had a bad relationship with my dad, and maybe I’m scared to treat my children like that. I’m very happy with my decision. I have a great relationship with myself too.

Category 4:

My spouse and I have talked in depth about having children. However, we both decided that our desire to travel the world is a financial burden in itself. If we have kids, we will never have the means to travel, and at the end of our life, we would rather be 100 percent committed to fulfilling our own realistic dreams rather than only able to provide a subpar life for a child. Comes down to the fact we are selfish, but at least we recognize this and made the choice early enough to avoid damaging a kid

Category 5:

The thought of having to do kiddie crap every weekend makes me want to shoot myself. I like having the extra money to save for retirement and not worry about braces, summer camp or college tuition. I can travel on a moment’s notice. I can give my all to my job and not have to worry about daycare, sick days, or having to leave my co workers to pick up my slack. I’m the “cool aunt” to all my nieces and nephews. I have more time to do the things that make me happy and productive. My relationship with my guy is not strained due to the constant neediness of children. I don’t want to put my body through pregnancy and childbirth. I can give my dog all the attention he needs and deserves.

If I had to choose one comment to represent the entire survey, it would be this one:

The moment you have children, you’re life ceases to be about yourself. Kids always take priority and I feel like I can do more for this world than just generate offspring.

I think this is the real reason why young, unmarried women choose not to prepare or plan for marriage and children . Marriage and children “some day” is like planning for your retirement by winning the lottery. It’s a way for the woman to signal to her family and friends that she will eventually want the responsibility of a husband and kids, but not right now.

We need to move beyond a survey to quantify this, and this U.S. Census data does that:

Childless by choice, not because of men
Childless by choice, not because of men failing to “man up”

These quotations are very troubling to me. I’ve been serious about obtaining STEM degrees, saving money by not traveling, and making a plan to have a marriage and family that will serve God. I haven’t used my freedom to buy alcohol or to play the field sexually. I don’t see women being serious about choosing men who are serious about marriage – especially men who are financially prepared to pay for things like houses and children. A lot of women are even interested in men who are younger than they are, despite the fact that these men have not proven themselves in their careers and finances.

How can young, unmarried women be sincere about wanting marriage and children “some day” if they waste their 20s and 30s on men who aren’t prepared for the financial responsibility? And that’s not even to mention the fidelity responsibility – men who have self-control before marriage are more able to be faithful after marriage. It seems as if a faithful man who can provide for a family is that last thing that women want. Even if a man does find one who wants to get married, the financial situation between a marriage-minded man and a woman who has spent all her time traveling is going to be a huge mismatch.

Young, unmarried women seem to oppose marriage because they know it will impose responsibilities, expectations and obligations on them. And their parents, relatives, friends and co-workers are doing nothing to detect and counter this attitude. As Lindsay argued on this blog before, the marriage / children plan is an excellent way for Christians to make a difference. But it does take work – work that some young, unmarried women are deliberately avoiding.

24 thoughts on “Survey: young, unmarried women explain why they avoid having children”

  1. This article is really sad because its mostly well-off, American (or, Western) women who feel like this. Women from foreign countries don’t hold these views and, thus, have a lot of children after they immigrate (legally or illegally), thus displacing Americans!

    This post hits close to home for me because my daughter is one of the young American ladies who feels this way. The other day I was talking about the recent shut down of Toys R’ Us stores and how it was partially fueled by Americans not having any kids. She replied to me that fewer kids was a good thing! She does not plan on having children. As a father, hoping to become a grandfather some day, it broke my heart.

    Over the weekend I visited my own grandma and listened to her tell the tale of her growing up with two brothers and nine sisters, and it made me even more sad. I would much rather have a large family, and wish my own wife and I would have had one more. Now I don’t know that Ill have any grandkids.

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    1. I am in favor of skilled immigrants, but not unskilled immigrants and refugees.

      As far as young women today, they just believe whatever is going around in the culture around them. They don’t seem to think about what is best for them, and then make achieving that a priority. What kind of person makes “fun” a priority? Everyone is getting older, and they need to have a plan for that and work towards that plan.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What do you think caused her to have these views, since they don’t seem to reflect your own? The culture at large? College?

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      1. I’ve mentored women in their early 30s who grew up in married Christian homes, then lost their faith in college, were alcoholic / bulimic / promiscuous in their 20s, then returned to the faith in late 20s, early-to-mid 30s. The common denominator in every case was that the woman was already focused on fun, travel and adventure before they ever got to college, and college just gave them the opportunity to do it.

        In one case, the father was unable to break the narcissism of the daughter because of a domineering “Christian” mother in the home who would not side with the father. That girl also had a “Christian” aunt who reinforced the idea that life and relationships were for her pleasure, and that her feelings were God speaking to her.

        I think men do a better job of keeping to their religion and values in a hostile environment than women do. Women adapt, and in college, that means dumping Christianity in order to not be seen as dumb, narrow-minded, prudish, etc. They have no resistance to peer-pressure, and they want to have fun. The previous generation of women was not like the current generation, in my experience.

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        1. Women CONFORM, and in college, that means dumping Christianity in order to not be seen as dumb, narrow-minded, prudish, etc. They have no resistance to peer-pressure, and they want to have fun.

          FTFY….

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    3. Culture at large, for sure. My family has always been large. My dads side of the family consists of three boys and three girls, my moms side consisting of two boys and two girls. My own family consisted of myself plus a brother and two sisters while my wife’s family consisted of four girls and a boy. By and large the ever touted problem with “world overpopulation” and “global warming” has shaped her thinking. Conventional millennial wisdom says “Why add to the problem?”. She thinks babies are “cute but gross”, likely stemming from the modern teaching that kids ruin your lives and tie you down to caring for them. She wants to join the military, something I have been straight forward in discouraging and praying she will move away from. She’s a smart girl and a great artist and musician. I would rather she get married, have kids and use those talents than have her go into the military and get her mind twisted living in a mans world. She doesn’t want to go infantry or anything like that, she is seeking a career in the Air Force.

      Naturally everyone else things her pursuits are great, including my wife, whom I have butted heads with over my horrible, sexist ways of thinking. I just want men to rule over women and women to be slaves to men, attending to their every whim. Facts and statistics be damned.

      Like I said, makes me sad. I’m looking at the possible future of being a man with no arrows in his quiver and no seeds to see grow. What is the point of such a man?

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      1. I think from the Christian perspective, the “point of such a man” is to continue to honor God through Christ and to continue to follow Him and to be that example even if, especially if, no one else adheres to that orthopraxy within your family and marriage.

        Jesus was VERY clear: He IS gonna divide up families for His Glory. It sucks, but it is still honor. And God WILL reward that in Eternity.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very, very pro family. I’m one of five siblings. I plan to have a large family. That said, while I don’t understand women who don’t want children, I do sympathize with them.
    My mom raised 5 kids while sometimes working part-time. My father completely supported her in this and worked 60 hour weeks. He still does.
    None of my guy friends are interested in supporting a stay-at-home-mom. Few of my guy friends are keenly interested in having children. It follows that their spouses will have to compete with men at work and take on the lion’s share of childbearing and raising.
    If a woman meets a guy who is willing to provide, she has to face any trust issues she’s picked up from her own parents’ dysfunction or society at large. I could go on.
    This is all to say, childbearing and rearing is an immense task. It does require sacrifice but it also requires support. There are some, but not many men, who are looking to offer adequate support.
    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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    1. I would only marry if my wife stayed home.

      I think other men have concerns about it because of the no-fat divorce laws and punitive anti-malware courts. Alimony and child support can bleed a man dry. Many young men saw it happen to their fathers, and have vowed never to marry until the laws change.

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  3. I think you will find different results if you look at conservative Christian colleges – they will still be there, but not as many will be rejecting marriage and children. Many still go to get their MRS degree.

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  4. This survey reflects what I see everyday as a young man; you can tell from their attitudes alone that most young women don’t really care about marriage and having children. This sadly also extends to the majority of young Christian women that I’ve encountered. They tend to favor careers and ‘education’ over getting married. This is worsened by the fact that the ‘church’ refuses to criticize a woman for any reason and will even oppose men like me who know what they want in a potential wife and evaluate women based on that.

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    1. Let’s call a spade a spade. A lot of these women drink too much and have sex with “hawt” guys who they know will never marry them. They do it because it’s fun. And that’s part of the reason they delay marriage – so that they can play the field while they are young and pretty. They’ll settle down later after they’ve had their fun, and give the leftovers to their husband.

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          1. I disagree, I think that a lot of people in church are aware on some level what women in their 20s do when they think they can get away with it. They just either excuse it, ignore it or find some twisted way to blame men for it. Then again, from what I’ve seen the church doesn’t understand women in general.

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  5. This really goes beyond selfishness to narcissism, as this quote shows:

    “I have a great relationship with myself too.”

    It reminds me of the woman who married herself because there were not any men as interesting.

    I wish there had been a follow-up question “If you found yourself ‘accidentally’ pregnant, how likely would you be to consider an abortion?”

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  6. Just to respond to the part of your question asking why there are so many more women in the churches than men.

    This is because radical feminism has invaded the churches of the West and been far more successful at taking over the culture than the churches have been at being salt and light against this devilish movement. (Yes, even in the Catholic churches, albeit slightly less so, where some level of purity is appreciated.)

    It is also why you rarely hear full apologetics-laden sermons (Scripturally and secularly advanced) on Hell, abortion, gay “marriage,” and divorce in any church in the West. The latter three sins of our age are found in abundance in many churches – I wonder why?

    The pastors and churches have traded their souls for ka-ching. So, you have nice feely-good sermons (even in many conservative Biblically exegetical churches) with entertainment atmospheres that do an excellent job of keeping women in their Eve-like state but offer exactly nothing for men, real men anyway. But, for faux-men-ists, there is plenty of cleavage to see. So many churches, so few Christians.

    In summary, the churches of the West are a mission field.

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  7. I am in my late fifties. I have many friends and acquaintances who have daughters in their late twenties and early thirties. Very few of them are married or even in LTR. For any young man who wants to find a good pre-Wall woman to marry and start a family with, the pickings are mighty slim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could be wrong but it seems to me that men are more likely to commit if they can afford to commit. In my case it would be easy because my house and cars are paid off and I have zero debt and a big retirement portfolio.

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