"While the two child family remains the most common family type in England and Wales, with 37 per cent of women born in 1971 having two children, the prevalence is below the peak of 44 per cent for the 1950 cohort.
"Families with no children or families with one child were the next most common for women born in 1971 at 18 per cent each.
"Only 1 in 10 women born in 1971 had four or more children, compared with nearly one in five in the 1940 cohort."
The ONS report tracks women born in each year to examine how many children they have and when.
It also found that women have become more likely in recent years to have had a child before they turn 30. While the average age of childbearing has increased, women born in 1987 were slightly less likely to be childless at 30 than those born the year before. ' (From the Telegraph )
I was asked today by a radio interviewer why I thought this was? My reply is that I don't think there is one answer to the question.
I do think we have had a major sea-change within a generation in our choices around women's choices and the shape of our families. It's no longer a given that women must have children and couples who decide not to have children are not so very unusual. This has allow for many more people to see being child-free as a valid choice. However, there is still pressure from society and families to have children and when I'm working with a woman who does feel she wishes to be child-free, we will explore and look at how she can deal with this pressure.
In addition to women who are choosing not to have children and who embrace being child-free, there are also a group of women who are child-less not by choice. Factors which impact this group of women are:
- Wanting children but being with a partner who doesn't want children
- Having left trying to have children till their late 30's due to various factors (one can be not having found the right person to have children with) and then finding it difficult to have children naturally.
- Feeling like they need to choice between their career and independence with having children.