The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) has a new report out on fertility statistics for the years 2006-2010. The NSFG is one of the few organizations who break the “childlessness”category out into “voluntary,” “involuntary” and “temporary.” The report is packed with data; here are some highlights of findings in the childlessness area:
From the report: “Among the 61.8 million women aged 15–44 years in 2006–2010, 43% were childless…34% were temporarily childless, 2.3% non-voluntarily childless, and 6.0% voluntarily childless.”
The 15-44 age range is wide; I find looking at older age ranges is more informative. For example, it reported that by age 40, 15% of women and 24% of men had not had a child (or said the opposite: 85% of women had had a birth, and 76% of men had fathered a child). And for women ages 40-44:
-> The way I read the tables, of the women surveyed who were 40-44 in age, 35% reported themselves as non-voluntarily childless.
-> In the same age range, 21.5 % reported themselves as voluntarily childless;
-> 1.6% reported themselves as temporarily childless;
-> 12% indicated “O” as the number of births expected.
On other channels, “Age at first birth for men and women aged 15–44 has been fairly stable since 2002…In 2006– 2010 the mean age at first birth was 23 for women and 25 for men, similar to the mean age at first birth in 2002.”
Also “for men, about two-thirds of first births occur to those in their twenties, and one out of five first births occur to those aged 30 years and over.”And “More than one-half of first births occur to women in their twenties and nearly one-third (italics mine) occur to women younger than age 20.” Curious how these numbers jive with with new numbers indicating that teen pregnancy is at an all time low. I also wonder how this data reconciles with other data indicating that women are starting to have children later in life.
Overall the report says that the numbers are about the same as they were in 2002, and that goes for the childlessness figures. Yet other reports seem to indicate that the numbers of women having no children is on the rise, and looks at older age ranges. For example, recent GenXer research by The Center for Work Life Policy, part of which reported 43% of Xer women “are delaying or even opting out of parenting” and 32% of Xer men do not have children.”
What do you think about these different data slices? One thing for sure, the childfree may remain in the minority, but studied more than ever before.