Huffington Post Article on Professor Blackstone’s Research

5 Things ‘Childfree’ People Want You To Know

A recent study shows the decision is a conscious, ongoing conversation.

 08/17/2016 04:56 pm ET

As more Americans choose not to have children and celebrities speak honestly about their own decisions, researchers have begun to examine this choice: Who is more likely to be childfree? Why do people decide to be childfree? How do others perceive the childfree?

Survey data rarely distinguishes between the involuntarily childless and the consciously childfree, but 2014 census figures reveal that 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 have never had children ― the highest rate ever tracked. By age 40 to 44, 19 percent of women remain childless, according to a 2014 Pew report.

Now, a new study looks into how people come to this decision. It reveals the decision is rarely a one-time conversation, as past research has suggested, but instead an ongoing discussion a person has internally and with a partner.

Amy Blackstone, a gender sociologist at the University of Maine who specializes in childfree research, hopes that her study helps question the assumption that little boys and girls will grow up to become parents. Breaking down this assumption would give them space as they grow up to decide whether or not parenting is the right choice for them.

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