The Un-dependents: In Numbers

With the number of people not having kids by choice rising in many countries, here are the top ten points to introduce the consciously child-free…

Why are more adults actively choosing to not have children? The number of people making this decision is rising in most developing countries; #childfree is a growing TikTok trend; and the declining birth-rate is worrying governments around the world. 

The backdrop to the emergence of the consciously child-free generation tells us that it is influenced by finances, wellbeing, and issues that are uppermost in the minds of Gen Z and millennials such as climate anxiety and other perspective-shaping events, like a global recession. It was therefore surprising to hear from the people we interviewed for our report, The Un-dependents, that despite this provocative background, they still don’t feel represented in wider culture. Below are (a few) of the numbers about The Un-dependents to get started on talking to the child-free.

This feature is based on our report, The Un-dependents, download the full version here.

Childless By Choice

In her groundbreaking work, Childless by Choice, Jean Veevers was one of the first researchers to study this phenomenon over 40 years ago

of young Americans (under the age of 40) say that having children isn’t on their agenda (Pew, 2021)

1 in 2
Gen Zer’s say that they’re ‘committed to being committed’ (Vice – Love & Loyalty)

2 in 3
In a recent survey of more than 20,000 people in China – mostly females between the ages of 18-31 – two thirds of respondents said they did not desire to have children (Asia Society, 2023)

Baby Bust 

of Gen Z women in America don’t want to have kids (Ruby Home, 2022)

of Britons say that they never want to have children (YouGov, 2020)

of US millennials say it’s unlikely they will ever have children (Pew, 2021)

In Iran, the parliament ring-fenced about €29.7 million to be paid in interest-free loans to 6,000 low-income, two-child families that have a third child by 2022

The number of one-person households is expected to grow in all the OECD countries for which projections are available. The largest increases are expected in Korea (43%), Australia (48%), England (60%), New Zealand (71%), and France (75%). (The Future of Family to 2030, OECD)

Why Be Childfree?

The most citied reason to opt to not have a child is ‘financial worries’ (Ipsos poll, 2022)

1 in 3
Australians won’t have children for climate reasons (Australian Conservation Foundation, 2019)

162 million views
#childfree (TikTok, 2021)

The ‘motherhood penalty’ is illustrated by how single women without kids had an average of $65,000 in wealth, and for single mothers it was $7,000 (Federal Reserve Bank of St.Louis, 2022)


This feature is based on our report, The Un-dependents, download the full version here.