Research from Michigan State University (MSU) revealed that around 1.7 million adults in Michigan, roughly one in five, have opted not to have children igniting an online debate. Here’s the full story.
In a study conducted last year, researchers from Michigan State University found that approximately 1.7 million adults in Michigan, equating to roughly 20.9% of the population, have intentionally chosen to lead a child-free life.
More Than 20% Of Adults Do Not Want Children
Jennifer Watling Neal, a professor of psychology at MSU and one of the study’s co-authors said, “We found that 20.9% of adults in Michigan do not want children, which closely matches our earlier estimate of 21.6%. This means that over 1.6 million people in Michigan are child-free.”
The significance of this statistic resonates beyond the state’s borders, as Michigan’s demographics mirror those of the United States as a whole.
A Follow-up Study
To strengthen the validity of their findings, the researchers did a follow-up study.
This new study aimed to replicate the original research’s results using the same methods but with a different sample of participants.
Integrity of the Research
To ensure the integrity of the research and to prevent any potential bias in selecting data, the study was pre-registered, meaning that the researchers documented in advance how the study would be conducted and the outcomes they expected to find.
The researchers utilized data from a representative sample of 1,000 adults who had participated in MSU’s State of the State Survey.
The survey was conducted by the university’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.
This approach aimed to confirm the robustness of the initial findings regarding the prevalence of child-free adults.
The Decision Transcends Demographic Boundaries
One of the significant revelations of these studies is that being child-free transcends traditional demographic boundaries.
It does not appear to be influenced by age, education, or income levels.
Zachary Neal, an associate professor of psychology at MSU and co-author of the study, said, “Many adults are child-free, and there do not seem to be differences by age, education, or income.”
There Is a Common Similarity
“However, being child-free is somewhat more common among adults who identify as male, white, or who have always been single,” he added.
Who Will Take Care of Them When They Grow Older?
Some expressed concern about those who choose to be child-free and might eventually regret their decision, particularly as they grow older.
Although Watling Neal explained “We found no evidence that older child-free adults experience any more life regret than older parents. In fact, older parents were slightly more likely to want to change something about their life.”
Restrictions on Reproductive Health Care
The researchers at MSU also pointed out that as states impose restrictions on reproductive health care, many individuals may find themselves compelled to have children against their wishes.
“States’ restrictions on reproductive health care may result in many people being forced to have children despite not wanting them, which is very concerning,” Neal said.
“Self-awareness is a good thing”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the study.
One user wrote, “Like pretty much everything in life, there are some people who couldn’t hack it as parents. Self-awareness is a good thing.”
Kids Are a Lifetime Commitment
Another user added, “Having kids is a lifetime commitment. They are expensive. Over $200,000 over their lifetime.
If you want kids, fine. If you don’t find it is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer.
End of Humanity?
A third user commented, “So that’s the end of humanity?” while another added, “I don’t know anyone who chose not to have kids who regretted it.
The only childless people who do are those who tried and couldn’t, but that’s not the same thing.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Tatyana Dzemileva . The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.