Population Connection reports (scroll to page 9 of the magazine at this link) that 15% of all American women ages 40-44 don’t have biological children. Most of these women are single. Among married American women in the same age group, those who have no biological or adopted children or stepchildren reached 6 % during 2006-2010, up from 4.5 % in 1988. According to the report, polls have shown that couples and individuals are placing less emphasis on the necessity of child rearing for their happiness and personal fulfillment. Because of our excessive consumption, an American child makes a much greater demand on the earth’s resources than a child born in most other countries; for example, compared to a child born in India, an American child will consume on average a whopping 30 times more resources.
On a dangerously warming planet where resources are limited but population keeps growing, any increase in the numbers of the childless is a hopeful sign. Fortunately the rate of American population growth has been declining. But unfortunately for the future of everyone on earth, a recent Gallup poll found that 90% of Americans either have children already or want to have them in the future. We need to think of creative and non-offensive ways to educate and engage our fellow citizens on this critically important topic, so that the 90% number will decrease. Numerous internet resources offer ideas–and videos–you can use to start discussions, such as the archive of articles here.