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ChildFree Adults

Why Childfree Adults?

Some adults don't want children. These childfree adults have been recognized in the popular press and qualitative research outlines their experiences and motivations. However, few quantitative studies have adequately distinguished childfree adults from other individuals who don't have kids (e.g., not-yet-parents who are planning to have kids and childless individuals who wanted kids but could not have them).  In my research, I leverage new quantitative survey methods for identifying childfree adults to address questions about their prevalence, characteristics, and treatment by others.

Research on Childfree Adults
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Click on the picture above to read an article in The Conversation about my recent research on the prevalence of childfree adults in Michigan.

Some of my collaborative work has focused on identifying the prevalence of childfree adults.  In representative samples in the state of Michigan, we used a new set of questions that disentangled childfree adults from other adults without children. In these samples, over one-fifth of adults could be classified as childfree because they do not have and do not want children.  These prevalence estimates are much higher than previous estimates based on fertility data.

In this research, we also looked at characteristics of childfree adults, finding no differences in life satisfaction and limited differences in personality compared to parents. Additionally, some of this work has focused on how others perceive childfree adults.  While childfree adults are equally warm toward other childfree adults and parents, parents tend to feel more warm toward other parents than toward childfree adults.  Parents' ingroup favoritism may have implications for how childfree people are treated in workplaces and other social settings.

Collaborators on Childfree Adults

Dr. Zachary Neal, Michigan State University