LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A growing number of Americans say they don’t want to have children ever, according to a recent study.
The reasons given by the couples and individuals in the Pew Research Center survey vary, but the hope for all is the same – that saying “No” to having kids becomes more socially accepted.
At 30 and 34 years old, Amanda and Trey Shaw say they have everything in life they could ask for.
“Ten acres and a pond. It’s hard to beat,” Trey noted.
As for kids, the couple said they have them, sort of.
“I say yeah, we have seven fur babies,” Amanda explained.
The couple, married for six years, decided early on in their relationship that they preferred four-legged children over two.
“I think both of us were kind of caught off-guard to find out we were on that same wavelength for it to be such a big topic,” Trey said.
Health issues are also a big concern. Amanda suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome, further solidifying their decision to not have kids.
“We made the choice to have fur babies, and they haven’t put her life in danger as far as pregnancy and labor would put us in potentially,” Trey said.
The Shaws aren’t alone in their decision. That recent survey from the Pew Research Center finds about 44% of people 18 to 49 say it’s unlikely or “not too likely” that they’ll ever have children.
When she’s not working from home, Lorri McPowell is swiping her way through dating apps.
“You don’t want to jump into anything too fast, but you know, time is ticking,” Lorri said. “You also can’t drag your feet either.”
Growing up with a single mom, Lorri saw firsthand how difficult it was to be the only parent.
“I was specifically only open to children if I were to be married,” Lorri said. “Since that never happened, I was not open to having children as single parent.”
Now in her early forties, Lorri said kids are out of the picture. However, finding the right man who also doesn’t want children is not.
“I’m pretty forward,” Lorri said. “I don’t want to say that I’m blunt, but yeah, it’s definitely a conversation that has to be had within the first or second date.”
Some couples, like Stacy and Johnathan Freyer, are still on the fence.
“Part of me wants it and part of me doesn’t, and I feel like one day I’ll have that clarity and we will go from there,” Stacy said.
Stacy, 32, and Johnathan, 39, love to travel on a whim with their dog Blaze by their side. Their focus at the moment is saving for their future and having fun.
“I don’t feel selfish for not wanting a child right now,” Johnathan said. “It’s our lives and if we are happy now, we should just be happy now.”
For the most part, they said, family and friends are supportive of their decision. The pair did note it can be difficult making new friends with couples their age, though, most of whom have kids.
“I feel like we miss out in that sense, sometimes, in building those close connections with people,” said Stacy.
Johnathan said there’s really no timeline as for when they will decide.
“I feel like I’m young enough to have a child five or six years from now, but really it will be when she decides, ‘Hey, I’m ready to have a child,’ and I’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s have a child,’’ Johnathan laughed.
Right now, they are content with their decision, no matter if others disagree with it.
“We are a family. We don’t have to have a child to have a family,” Johnathan said.
Lorri said she understands it’s not the right decision for everyone, but it’s the perfect one for her.
“Everyone needs to make their own path and decide what’s best for them,” she explained.
According to the study, more people say they simply don’t want to have children for no reason in particular.
About 56% say they just don’t want to have children while 43% provide another reason. The two most common ones include medical and financial concerns.