A recent academic report titled Where have all the children gone?: Trends in the childlessness of professional women in Australia discusses the topic at length but makes no mention of childlessness as a choice, and never uses the preferred term childfree. Those of us who are childfree by choice continue to be misunderstood.
It’s obvious why smarter, better educated and professionally employed people have less children than the general population. We have the intellectual ability to make rational choices, such as to maintain the self discipline to use contraception reliably and to plan children (p5) rather than have them arrive unplanned and sometimes unwanted. Our abilities and circumstances mean we have more options available to us in life, and have more choices to make in how we live our lives.
People with less ability, less education and less well paid employment have fewer options in life and thus fewer choices to make. They are also less likely to be able to make rational choices about contraception and quality of life (such as choosing the delayed gratification option in order to optimise long term outcomes).
As much as social conservatives deplore it, having children is simply one of many options and choices in life. Being a parent is not essential feature of adulthood. Some people would not make good parents. Some people are simply not interested in being parents or in committing themselves to such a long term project.
The myopic academic who wrote this study understand none of this. Choosing not to have children is not an option they consider. I’m deliberately barren and proud of it and I’m sick of being ignored as a social demographic and as a rational adult, citizen and taxpayer who has made a legal and legitimate life choice.