The Family Of The Future Is Childless

By Hand On The Hip - 1/29/2019

For many years, the image of the standard family has been forced through our minds: Mommy, daddy, and their two children. To complete the portrait of perfection, demographic statistics have got into the habit of adding a pet, with over 62% of Australian households owning an animal. Pets are, after all, a regular part of childhood in Australia. Over 83% of children grow up with pets.
But the standard family has been gradually shifting and changing shape over the past decade. Millennials are less and less eager to become parents, and their behaviour is helping to build a new trend in family figures: We seem to be going childless. While it doesn’t mean that there will be no generational renewal, it’s worth mentioning that the population growth rate is slowing down. Australia is not yet at the same level than Japan or China, whose population is declining, but it’s interesting to understand what is driving the childless families of today.

Couples have the choice to delay
Contraception is not a novelty anymore. Oral hormonal contraception is not only highly effective when used correctly, but it’s also one of the preferred approaches to manage your sex life. Many women appreciate the control they get over their body and the ability to plan their periods. It’s no surprise that many couples stay on the pill for as long as possible, allowing women to achieve the career or lifestyle they aspire to. Ultimately, oral contraception has been inherent to the emancipation of women, both in the household and in the workplace. Childlessness is its natural extension. However, hormone-based contraception methods can come at a high cost for your body. Discomfort, blood clots, migraines, and painful periods can be directly associated with taking hormonal reactions.

Many ask themselves if it’s worth it
Couples who are in a long-term relationship are finding themselves weighing the cost of raising a child over the one of a more permanent contraceptive solution, namely vasectomy cost. Ultimately, raising a child from birth to 17 is estimated at over $297,000. Aside from the monetary worry, more and more couples fear for their relationship too. Many have observed friends and relatives dramatically transform their lives after the birth of children and found the experience disturbing. Indeed, not all happy couples are willing to move their relationship further by starting a family. Many are comfortable enough to enjoy their fusional togetherness.

Ultimately society has made it hard for people to want to give up their lifestyles
Lastly, it’s fair to say that having children has been made increasingly difficult by the lack of family-friendly policies. For Millennials, the right time to have children is not now. Indeed, society fails to support modern families who don’t want to lose their social and professional standing when they have children. Policies to introduce long, paid maternity and even paternity leaves could encourage more couples to start a family. Similarly, mononuclear families, same-sexuality parents, and ageing first-time parents are emerging trends that require dedicated support to tackle the decreasing growth rate in Australia.

By 2023, there will be more childless couples than couples with kids. For some, it was a conscious decision to enjoy the relationship as it is. For others, however, childlessness is the response to social, professional and financial fears which need to be tackled as a matter of urgency.

P.S. This post is a collaborative post and not written by Hand On The Hip.

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