Growing Number Of Millennial, Gen-Z Women Are Childless By Choice

A growing number of Millennial and Gen-Z women are choosing not to become parents.

Friday, July 21st 2023, 11:37 am

By: CBS News


A growing number of Millennial and Gen-Z women are choosing not to become parents.

A 2021 Pew Research Center Survey shows 44 percent of non-parents ages 18 to 49 say it is "not too likely" or "not likely at all" that they will have children someday, up 7 percentage points from 2018's survey.

Cecile Palacios, 40, is one of those women. Palacios is in a committed relationship, has a successful career in fitness, and loves to volunteer. She does not plan to have children.

"We as women are able to live fuller lives in general, and I think that that's why, the childfree movement is happening," Palacios said.

Social media topics like "Childless by Choice" are getting a lot of likes from like-minded people. Palacios shares her experiences on TikTok.

"I understand that motherhood is a sacred journey, but motherhood is not for everyone," Palacios shared in one video liked by more than 100-thousand people on TikTok.

According to the Pew Research Center Survey, reasons for not having children range from medical and financial, to concerns about the state of the world and the environment. Most participants who do not plan to have children said they simply "just don't want to."

"No one can afford kids," Palacios said. "That's a big thing. Affording children is really, really hard."

Experts say choosing not to have children is becoming more socially accepted, in part because the family makeup is changing.

"For decades and decades, there was an assumption that to be an adult in our culture, you had to be married and you had to have kids and I think that assumption is kind of falling away," said Dr. Paula England, Dean of Social Science at NYU Abu Dhabi.

It is a welcome shift for many Gen-Z and Millennial women like Palacios.

"Even though I've seen wonderful examples of motherhood, I think not enough space is held for there to be more than one kind of definition of a woman," Palacios said.

Palacios has carved out her own space and hopes every woman can choose their own.

Recent Census Bureau Data also found that as of 2021, 25 percent of 40-year-olds in the US had never been married, up from 20 percent in 2010.

First published on July 21, 2023 / 11:44 AM

© 2023 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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