More American women are not having kids

Census Bureau finds the highest percentage of childless women of reproductive age since the 1970s

Published April 9, 2015 4:19PM (EDT)

  (<a href=''>Gajus</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Gajus via Shutterstock)

Just as European sex ed programs are looking to urge more births to combat falling fertility rates, the U.S. might be seeing similar trends in its own birth rate. Not just yet, though.

But, according to new numbers from the Census Bureau, more American women of childbearing age are actually childless. Almost half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 didn't have kids in 2014, with an increase from 46.5 percent in 2012 to 47.6 percent last year. The increase puts the proportion of childless women at its highest point since the government started keeping track in 1976.

Breaking down the results by age group, the findings become more interesting. Among millennials (specifically women between the ages of 25 and 29), an all-time high are childless, at 49.6 percent. Women in their early 30s have showed more fluctuation in recent years, and their rates of childlessness have remained consistently lower: nearly a third of women between ages 30 and 34 didn't have kids.

The changes reflect other related trends we've already seen: 20-something women, in particular, aren't really having kids while they're still 20-something women, which would explain their higher rates of childlessness. But the numbers also align with the nation's declining birth rate -- which has dropped especially among teenagers in recent years, though no one can be entirely sure why.

(h/t Time)

By Jenny Kutner

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