Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Census data show childfree households are majority June 24, 2011

Courtesy: LA Times

Yesterday morning I shuffled out to my front porch to pick up the newspapers. My sleepy curiosity jumped to attention when I saw the cover headline of the LA Times:

“Data show state families changing.”

Above the headline was a row of pie charts showing that, according to the 2010 U.S. census figures, 26.0% of California households are married couples with no children, up 4% since 2000. Surprising, but not shocking until you compare this with the data on nuclear families (defined as a household with a married couple of the opposite sex, and children). These families make up only 23.4% of households, down a whopping 10% since 2000.

This means that, as a childfree couple, Mr. Fab and I are in the majority around here. As the article says: “Today, California is a stark reflection of a new dynamic; the traditional Hallmark card image is hardly obsolete, but it is the minority.”

I hope this means that, as this trend continues (and I predict it will), we childfree people will come to be seen as the norm and no longer the odd, misunderstood creatures we are now.

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5 Responses to “Census data show childfree households are majority”

  1. Doing my best to represent here in the Bay area! 😉

  2. Kathleen Says:

    Forget misunderstood or odd, it is pitied that I hate. And I don’t care if they pity me because “I will never know the joy . . .blah, blah, blah” I am 51 and heavy, and grey, and single (divorced), and when I tell people that I have no children, they immediately get this pity look, like I never had the opportunity to have children.

    I think it bothers me because I take it as a reflection of the way I look. I think if I was slender and attractive, and/or married, they would ask why I/we didn’t have children, or assume that we were infertile. But no, I get this sad look like I came out of the womb grey, fat and old, and clearly I am a spinster/virgin. If being in the majority helps, I could do without that.

  3. IrisD Says:

    Does the pie chart list single parent homes? I wonder if more married couples are now childfree, or if more married couples with kids are divorcing and therefore not listed as nuclear family households.. (mom, dad, kids). I hear ya Kathleen… what annoys me, too, is the “pity” factor. I once told a friend who had not wanted to have kids till her husband basically suggested the strong possibility of divorce when she was 40, that a mutual friend had adopted after failed IVF, and her response was pity for our mutual friend. I got in touch with another friend after 20 years through facebook, and when I said I didn’t have children (at 40), she said, “Oh, but you still can.”… I found that two of my friends who got pregnant later in life seem to view adoption as second rate, which surprised me. Yes, I would have liked to have children, I never did a thing to prevent them from coming along, but they didn’t. And I don’t want the pity that makes me feel like I should see my life as incomplete, when I’m trying to be positive and thankful for what I do have.

  4. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    The comment about Hallmark cards…. Last year I went looking for a Thanksgiving card to give to family members. We live in SF, where our street represents EVERY possible kind of family, but the only image represented on the shelves was all white, Norman Rockwellish. Where are the representations of gay families, mixed races, single parents, childfree, multi-generational, etc.? Oh, wait, this is Whiny Wednesday, right? Okay…. Yay us for being the original trendsetters!!!

    • Let’s coin a term, “Family Forward” and then do a fashion runway flavor comercial, for new recruits. Silky female announcer says, “Are you on the cutting edge of nuclear families? Are you ahead of the familial curve? Are you a trend setter in every aspect of your life? Then you are ‘Family Forward’ and we want you.” :o)


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