Researcher wonders about parents of the future

Aug 15, 2013 by Anne Craig

New research out of Queen's University indicates that women are changing their views on bearing children.

According to data from an , Lonnie Aarssen and former Stephanie Altman say there has been a rapid rise in the 'childfree' culture, with fewer women opting to have children. Instead, women are focusing on their own legacies – a rewarding career, fame, contributing to new ideas and making discoveries.

"In the past, women have been denied the opportunity to choose whether or not to have children," says Dr. Aarssen. "Now, according to our survey, there is more of a between fertility and legacy. We only found this in women though, and that's probably because men don't have to be involved through the whole pregnancy process."

Members of the Queen's community were invited by email to participate in this online survey. 1,115 people responded, including 351 males and 764 females. While both men and women expressed the same overall desire for 2.2 children, the women with a high fertility preference also tended to have little interest in achieving fame.

The women who indicated a desire to have few or no children tended to have a strong interest in goals associated with their legacy.

Responses from males were quite different, with data indicating that there was no conflict between building their own legacy and having children.

Economists and politicians are now expressing concern over the implications of a childfree culture, worrying that women not having children or not having as many children could lead to a population crash. However, Dr. Aarssen says the current trend in North America will reverse itself should more women and men find themselves driven by an attraction to parenthood.

The was recently published in The Open Behavioral Science Journal.

Explore further: Infertility rate declines among US couples

More information: benthamscience.com/open/openac… les/V006/37TOBSJ.htm

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User comments : 6

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ToolMan78
1 / 5 (4) Aug 16, 2013
The worrying thing is that it's mostly our best and brightest that opt for career over family. It's a choice that's easy to understand, but worrying none the less when our most ambitious take themselves out of the gene pool.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2013
the current trend in North America will reverse itself should more women and men find themselves driven by an attraction to parenthood

So..".the current trend will reverse itself if the current trend reverses itself". Now THAT's some impeccable logic right there.

concern over the implications of a childfree culture, worrying that women not having children or not having as many children could lead to a population crash


"Population crash" sounds a bit dramatic. If the US just opened its borders a bit more then I'm sure a 'crash' can be averted. It's not like the US isn't founded on immigration or anything.
Gmr
not rated yet Aug 17, 2013
...and that's probably because men don't have to be involved through the whole pregnancy process


Whoah. Quite the leap in supposition there.

You know, once the pregnancy is over, so is childhood.

Oh wait...

I don't think blanket generalizations in reasoning can be derived so easily from an apparent trend. Additionally, it's sexist to assume men don't have to be involved in the pregnancy. They do not carry the child, but that doesn't necessarily preclude involvement in other ways, such as supporting the pregnant partner, creating a space for the child, preparing for its arrival, necessary steps that are not equivalent with carrying to term, but are hardly "un-involved" activities.

I would contend a man who doesn't get involved in the pregnancy isn't much of one for caring for and about a child in the first place, and would answer they would prefer a career.
freethinking
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 18, 2013
Whoah. Me and GMR agree..... The world must be ending.....

I agree with your statement GMR that I would contend a man who doesn't get involved in the pregnancy isn't much of one for caring for and about a child in the first place, and would answer they would prefer a career
Noumenon
2.8 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
If the US just opened its borders a bit more then I'm sure a 'crash' can be averted. It's not like the US isn't founded on immigration or anything.


The issue of border security has little to do with legal immigration, and less to do with the above study.

It is a general trend that the wealthier a culture, the less children per couple, and inversely.
Gmr
5 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2013
Whoah. Me and GMR agree..... The world must be ending.....

I agree with your statement GMR that I would contend a man who doesn't get involved in the pregnancy isn't much of one for caring for and about a child in the first place, and would answer they would prefer a career


I'm not a vindictive or spiteful person, you'll find. I'm like anyone else, someone furnished with the capacity for opinion.

And if discussion stays cordial, so do I.

Re the discussion:
Part of the issue might be a consideration by some women that it is either-or. Either the child will be an impediment to the career, or the career will be an impediment to child-rearing.

I don't have any such illusions: I have to do both, as do most single parents.