Friday, August 22, 2008
The 2006 US Census Bureau Fertility Report, which studies the fertility rates of women ages 15-44, was published earlier this week. This is a big deal, because up until now, we've been working off of data from 2004.
The new 2006 data states that even fewer women are having children than in 2004. In fact, the big highlight of the report is shocking: "20 percent of women 40 to 44 were childless in 2006, twice as high as the level 30 years earlier." Wow.
The data from a similar study done in 2004 stated that 44.6% of women did not have kids. This 2006 study reports that 45.1% did not have children, up 0.5% over those two years.
Neither reports include data on women 'post' fertility who are less likely to ever have children - women 45 and over.
I don't want you to think that I am celebrating childlessness. Childlessness is often not a choice for most women (Although it is for some and for those women, it's the right choice). Personally, I would love to have children. I just haven't met the right guy to have them with me yet. (He's coming, I just know he is, but he's taking his sweet time!)
All I am saying is that the data is the data. The facts are the facts. Fewer women are having children. By choice. Not by choice. Some are childless. Some are childfree. Some are waiting. Some are undecided. Some are trying. Some are too young. Some feel too old. Some are too old. Some are gay and therefore I assume less likely to have their own kids. Whatever the case, in the end, 45.1% of women 15-44, don't have kids.
Here's the "women without children" data, broken down by age range:
15 to 19 years 93.3%
20 to 24 years 68.6%
25 to 29 years 45.6%
30 to 34 years 26.2%
35 to 39 years 18.9%
40 to 44 years 20.4%
Remove the teens from the equation, and 36% of women 20 - 44 don't have kids. Again, this data does not include women 45+. And I am reluctant to exclude the teens because teens have huge spending clout and are very likely to indulge their little nieces and nephews, their little cousins, and their friends' kids - and certainly themselves! And they are looking for ways to connect with the children in their lives, just like older women are. Just because they are less likely to have kids, doesn't mean they are less likely to be loving Savvy Aunties to a child in their life.
But back to the good people at the US Census who have helped us discover we're not alone....
In 2006, the Census Bureau knocked on doors and asked women up to the age of 44 if they have children. 45.1% responded no.
In 2008, I responded with SavvyAuntie.com to give this segment, which I have dubbed PANKs (Professional Aunts, No Kids), a community of our own. And our partners - like Hasbro, FAO Schwarz, Sephora and Ford have responded. And many, many more are knocking on my door. They are trying hard to tell you that they hear you. They see you. They understand that you are not only relevant, you are the unsung family hero.
Finally, Auntie, somebody's ringing the bell!
Do me a favor, open the door, and let 'im in?
PS - Thanks to Sir Paul McCartney and his song, Let 'im in.