By Madison Smith
In 2017, America hit a record low of 3.8 million babies born—a two percent decrease from 2016 and the lowest number of babies born in three decades. Why the sudden decrease? It’s because people all over the world, mainly women, have realized that they do not want children. Whether for personal or financial reasons, people are choosing voluntary childlessness, or to be “childfree,” and are constantly questioned and shamed for their decisions.
Being a childfree adult was considered unusual in the 1950s. However, the percentage of Americans who are childfree has risen significantly since then. In women aged 40-44, the percent who were childless was 10 percent, which double to 20 percent in 2005, only to decline again to 15 percent in 2014. It is more common in European countries, such as Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom.
One of the most compelling arguments for not wanting to have children is the cost of having one. According to an article from CBS News, the estimated cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is $233,610, not including the cost of college.
In many societies, women are shamed for not wanting to have children and are often convinced otherwise. According to an article on theconversation.com, women who choose to be childfree are often accused of being “selfish, cold-hearted, shallow, and overeducated.” The article also says that women who choose to not have children are more likely to experience social disconnection from others, simply because they publicly chose not to become a mother.