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Proportion of married women without children is increasing

The number of married women in the US with no children has increased over the last 20 years, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research examined data from the National Survey of Family Growth. Between 2006 and 2010, six per cent of married women aged 40 to 44, had no children, either biological, adopted or step, in their households they found.

In 1988, by contrast, just 4.5 per cent of women had no children living with them, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The increase reflects a continuing evolution in the social meaning of marriage, the Centre’s Susan L Brown concluded.

Debra Mollen, an associate professor of psychology at Texas Woman’s University, agreed, saying:

“We’ve moved away from the idea that the sole or even the primary purpose of marriage is to produce offspring.” Instead we “want someone to share our lives with.”

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  1. Paul says:

    Or maybe they’ve got the male contraceptive pill going over there and more men are deciding to follow their own path in life.

    Wait ’til that one happens here. We’ll soon see feminist sexism take a backward step.

  2. JamesB says:

    Ah, the answer to Freud’s last unresolved question at last. What do women want?

    Answer : “someone to share our lives with”. That’s nice, really.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The other cynical way of looking at this is that they’ve all visited lawyers first, and been told that it won’t be so emotional if they are just having to deal with the money question after they get bored and want to divorce.

  4. Luke says:

    ““We’ve moved away from the idea that the sole or even the primary purpose of marriage is to produce offspring.” Instead we “want someone to share our lives with.”

    I don’t think the conclusions above are at all valid based on the evidence – 4.5% -> 6% in two decades – we have gone from a very small number to well, a still very small number.

    I think it is more likely to be a result of couples leaving having children until they are older and some failing to conceive and ending up unhappily without children.

  5. Debra Mollen says:

    Research shows that having children results in more relationship dissatisfaction compared to couples who don’t have children.

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