Author Kaye Walters has done something no other writer in the childfree genre has – she has conducted a survey of over 4000 childfree to learn about the childfree choice and those who make it.
I recently had the chance to interview her about the survey, her book, Kidfree & Lovin It! and more…
What inspired you to write Kidfree & Lovin It!?
After Brian & I decided we weren’t going to have children, I really wanted to explore what that meant. Are there others out there like me? What are the issues they face? Why don’t they want kids? I googled “don’t want kids” and hundreds of articles and websites came up for the “childfree.” This was the first I’d ever heard of the term!
I bought a couple interesting books on the subject, but nobody had yet surveyed large numbers of non-parents about their reasons, their fears, and their issues. So, I decided to do just that, and to write a book revealing my findings.
Tell us about your survey of 4000+ childfree from all over the world-what kinds of questions do you ask, how did you obtain so many respondents?
Well, originally I intended to survey about 200 people from my online childfree groups, as well as non-parents I knew and met in person. I also intended for the book to only take a year or two to write. Wrong! The more I got into it, the more I found to write about, and it took almost six years to complete.
Meanwhile, a publishing expert suggested I “keep the survey open while researching and writing” to maximize my audience. People continued forwarding my survey link to childfree around the globe, and it kind of went viral.
The survey asks 20 questions ranging from age and education to if and why you are happy being a non-parent. The meat of the questions include:
How do you feel about kids in general?
Why do you think people have kids?
What are your fears (if any) about not having kids?
What are some of the reasons you don’t want children?
I end by asking for a favorite childfree story, quote or comment, and have received over 1,500 great ones! (Many are peppered throughout my book.)
What surprised you the most about the survey responses?
There were a few things that jumped out. Firstly, how well educated the childfree are compared to the general populace. The education levels attained are much higher for non-parents than for the general population 18+ in the U.S.
Secondly, pet ownership is much higher for childfree than the general populace. This debunks the myth that non-parents are cold or un-nurturing, as well as that we shirk responsibility. (Pet care and ownership is a major responsibility, and we love our fine furry friends!)
Thirdly, I was surprised more women didn’t check “Career” as a reason they didn’t want kids. Although it was a major reason for me, only 35% of women checked “I would have to give up my career” as a reason not to have kids.
Perhaps most importantly, I was surprised at how many childfree told me they work with kids on a regular basis. Many of my survey respondents said they either volunteer to help children, are schoolteachers, daycare workers, counselors, or mentors. This parallels my other finding that very few childfree (6.4%) actually “hate” children. The bottom line is we simply don’t want our own.
What in your opinion needs more study regarding the childfree?
I think the biggest problem is that, while increasing numbers of conscientious and educated people worldwide are not having children, the wrong people are still having children for the wrong reasons. Obviously, this does not bode well for the human race.
As you say in your book, The Baby Matrix, governments are using incentives to encourage people to have children, even if they are unfit to parent. Our society pays the price for this in many ways, such as unhappy children, unhappy parents and an increase in poverty and crime.
What are you working on now?
While researching Kidfree & Lovin’ It!, I found there is a set of unique issues for people who are single who don’t want children. It’s tough enough finding your soul mate in this world, let alone one who doesn’t want children. And, are we willing to have stepchildren?
A few years ago I launched the Childfree Dating Survey, for which I have received over 1,100 responses to date. This is the first study that ranks the success of various techniques used for meeting a childfree mate. I will be revealing the findings in my next book Childfree & Single: Navigating your way through a kid-centric world.
Thank you , Kaye!
Have questions for Kaye? Write them in here!
A classic example of the DNA Ego at work!
If it were not for the payment I’d label it slavery. It is “merely” a form of paid human trafficking:
Yes- I have tweeted about this today as well as posted on Families of Two & Beyond and The Baby Matrix FB pages….a post is brewing…..did you see in the same SF Chron edition on page L10 a couple who fostered and adopted kids were highlighted…too bad the 12 Page spread could not have been about people who do That!