It’s the time of year to talk childfree trending for 2023! Two big themes that stick out for me this year:

Continued Expansion

As I have commented in previous childfree trending pieces, the amount of ink, print and digital, on a range of childfree-related topics has done nothing but continue to grow!

Having watched what’s been out there on childfree topics since I started my top blog, La Vie Childfree in 2009 (which is now a childfree writings library in the Childfree Zone of this site), from one year to the next certain topics get more discussion. This year, I have noticed there’s been a bit more focus on a couple of stubborn stereotype areas: the myth that somehow all people who make the childfree choice are selfish and predicting regret as childfree women in particular reach the end of their reproductive lives.

One area I’ve seen more attention paid to this year has to do with the claim that there are now more childfree people than ever before. Are there more childfree people, or is it more that the print and online exposure has grown such that more and more childfree people can be seen and heard?  

Over twenty years ago when I set out to find happily married childfree couples for Families of Two, the digital world was nowhere near what it is today. But childfree people were out there; they came out in droves to be interviewed. This told me that at the time, at least in the United States, many childfree people lived in the tributaries of society. Unlike then, today there is such a more expansive space for childfree people to be seen, heard, and find community.

Over the last year, I have seen more online discourse on more women starting at age eighteen saying they do not want to have children. And a Michigan State University study that came out this year indicates one in five adults (adults being age 18 and up) said they did not want children. More gen Z’s are weighing in these days, and more longitudinal research can help to hone in on what actually happens over time.

Discourse on Pronatalism

I am thrilled that this past year pronatalism has been talked about more than ever before. More articles, op-eds, papers, and publications have made more people aware of the negative impacts of pronatalism. Let’s just say about a decade ago, publishers would not even consider picking up a book on this topic. And getting publicity for The Baby Matrix  was tough to say the least. No one wanted to talk about it. But since its release, I’ve tried to help this topic get into public discourse, and thanks to academia, NGOs, and the media, 2023 has been the best I’ve seen yet.

This is important to childfree people because the more people see through pronatalist assumptions and beliefs that have to do with choosing not to have children, the more these assumptions and beliefs can be abandoned. Seeing through pronatalism’s untruths and myths especially as it relates to childfree people supports the acceptance of the childfree choice. It also sets the stage to live with mindsets that reflect truths and today’s realities.

Emerging Pronatalist Forces

Along with the positive, unfortunately there has also been a new emergence of pronatalist forces that work against chipping away at pronatalism. This year a contingent of people have come out as wealthy, proud pronatalists who are very worried about falling birthrates. The spotlight started with Simone and Malcolm Collins who founded, which has a mission to have wealthy elites have as many children as possible to “combat falling birthrates.”  To do so, they want to create a movement that “encompasses various initiatives, including government policies that provide financial incentives for families to have more children, cultural campaigns that promote the idea that parenthood is the most important role for women, and religious or ideological beliefs that emphasize the importance of procreation.”

We see governments trying (unsuccessfully) to increase births through incentivization, which is a top down type of effort, but this new effort can be characterized as by wealthy citizens from the ground up. And it is becoming more organized. Recently, there was an entire conference in Austin, Texas, to find solutions to a supposed tragic situation of birthrate collapse. Meanwhile as of this writing the world population has a net gain of one person every 22 seconds.

In the coming year, I hope that this force will be outdone by more highlighting of the negative impacts of pronatalism and the serious problems with seeing population and birthrate numbers only through a human-centric and economic lens.  

As I have been hammering for a while now, taking down pronatalism is in the best interest of us all, not just those who don’t have or want children. Its decimation also anchors the end game of the childfree choice being just as socially and culturally acceptable as having children.

Bring on 2024

Going into 2024, I anticipate even more Gen Y and Z voices speaking out about multifaceted aspects of the childfree choice and moving the needle towards fuller acceptance. Bring it on! I am here to offer long-view perspective and wisdom gained from years of giving it my best to work toward this societal change.

Happy 2024!

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