November 26, 2007

The "No Kids" Household

This week Time Magazine published some interesting statistics in a special report titled "America by the Numbers."

According to the stats, there are 31.4 million married couples with no children at home, outnumbering the 24.2 million married couples with children under eighteen. To be clear, the first figure includes empty nesters, but if you add the 8 million single households with no kids, that makes close to forty million U.S. "No Kids" households.

So why is it everytime I turn on the news, the top story is "What can I buy little Johnny for Christmas this year if I can’t buy Chinese toys?" or "What can parents do for a sick child now that cough syrup is not recommended for children under six?"

I guess we know what heads of households with children are doing: Worrying about lead paint and cold remedies.

What are "no kids" households doing? Sleeping peacefully, and longer.

"13 Percent of parents slept with their infants in 2000, up from 5.5 in 1993." According to the Time stats, these kids sleep one hour less each night then kids did 30 years ago.
Whether you sleep well or not usually depends on whom you are sleeping with. Since 67 percent of Americans share their bed with another person or a pet, we may be able to blame our lack of sleep on our baby (both the two-legged and four-legged variety).

Households with no kids are likely to have more disposable income than do households with kids. The latest estimates say it will cost close to 300,000 to raise the average American kid to the age of 17 (college costs excluded). So what are we doing with all that money? Travel, luxury goods?

According to a Canadian study, we are buying books; households without children make 64 percent of new book buys. We are also buying hybrid cars; according to a survey conducted by Vertis Communications, 58 percent of hybrid shoppers are childless/childfree.

But on sleep we can all agree. Of all the childed and unchilded households in the United States, 17 percent spent as much on their mattress than they did on their last vacation.

What’s your sleep number?

Technorati Tag:


CFT said...

We spent $800 on our last mattress and $1600 on the last vacation. I'm happier about the vacation money.

And I have way too many books.

Jacqueline said...

This blog has been wonderful reading for me!

I'm located in a small(ish) town in Eastern North Carolina. My husband is 36 and is an Air Force officer. I'm 32 and have a career - neither one of us wants any children. Admittedly, being part of military life and honest about NOT wanting children, it's been difficult for us to find friends WITHOUT children.

This blog gives me hope - hope that there are more people out there who understand what life is like without any children!!

I'm very interested in "meeting" everyone associated with the Purple Women movement.


Kerry said...

Amen to that. One of the main reasons I would not make a good parent even if I wanted to have kids is that I need 8 hours of sleep each night. Yes, NEED it. I'm just like that - if I don't get enough sleep I have a really hard time functioning the next day. Prolonged lack of sleep really affects me, not in a good way. I know I would be an awful parent since part of being a parent is not getting much sleep. That's not fair to me, the kid, or my boyfriend.

Emma said...

The last time I moved, the movers told me that the only other time they moved someone with THAT MANY books was when they moved my brother and his wife (they're also childfree). Yes, we actually had the same movers.

I have a Toyota Prius. One of my childfree friends has a Honda Civic Hybrid and I have three other friends who are all childfree and all have Toyota Prius hybrids.

So, I guess we're stereotypically childfree. ;)

Shannon said...

I guess those are stereotypes I can live with :)
and Kerry- I totally agree about the sleep! Less than eight hours and I am a cranky zombie!

GottabeMe said...

I love this blog, and have found so many great blogs by CF people recently that I've started my own because I have a lot to say. I hope you don't mind that I've linked to this blog. Stop by!

Angry Grrl said...

Hi jacqueline, I'm in central North Carolina (Durham), and yes, there are lots of us here in the Tarheel state who are childfree, but I imagine that it IS tough to find them in the military. Not to worry, though -- if nothing else, we can connect online. :)

Angry Grrl said...

Somewhat off-topic, but are the rest of you childfree bloggers being hit with a rash of anonymous breeder trolls? Is this an unintended consequence from Purple Women Count day or something?

InnerKeening said...

I'm a 25... mainly because that's what my dogs seem to prefer :)

Bernard said...

Hmmm, so although CFs have more disposable income, I wonder how much we spend compared to couples with kids...? (do they earn more or get themselves in more debt?). Assuming that parents are spending more per se, it comes as no surprise that kids feature so heavily in the news and advertising campaigns! It's all about the ecomony at the end of the day!
I always find it comforting knowing I don't have to worry about lead paint and massive expenditure on school uniforms, so have learned not to scorn those news stories!!

AlphaGirl said...

Wow. I'd like to be one of those CF folks with disposable income as described in the article. Even before my job loss earlier this year, it was hard to make ends meet. Can't imagine having to provide for another person on my income, such as it is.

Hi Angry Grrl...yep, I got hit today. The poster formed a "sock-puppet" account and hit my blog. I posted their comment because the name made me throw up in my mouth a little..."babybatter". As in...yeah, you guessed it. Gag.

Teri said...

Trolls are trolls. That's about the only name-calling I will allow on this blog. I think that's why we don't get more.

I will delete any comments that resort to it.

Shauna said...

I am like you, happily childfree with my happily childfree hubby. We are frugal, local-food buying, moving towards self-suffiiency. We buy quality, not quanitity. And our lives feel FULL and we are FULFILLED. How can this be, right??

The interesting thing is that when people ask why I don't have/want kids, they usually say, "Oh, you must not like kids, huh?" Imagine their surprise when I tell them that I worked in childcare for ten years. No, I don't hate kids, I just know that being a parent is not what I want. I am lucky--my parents and my husband's parents have never pressured us or even questioned our decision. Our siblings sometimes questions our decision, but I think it's due more to their uncertainty of their decisions than really about US. My sister (a lawyer) who has three kids and 2 ex-husbands, is extremely wealthy and also extremely unhappy. The kids didn't solve the problems in her disasterous marriages, and she feels unfulfilled. Two of her kids are recovering addicts, and the youngest is anorexic--all the result of having to live with an anorexic, unhappy, workaholic, demanding and demeaning mother. I think this type of parenting is the rule and not the exception. Most people have no clue what having children really entails, and are then blindsided by the demands of time, money, and attention that they take. All of which then serves to make people feel guilty about being a "bad" parent for not feeling automatically "fulfilled" by what is supposed to be a "natural" role (especially for women). I think our decision is far less selfish than the decision to have a child in order to have "unconditional love" or someone to take care of you in your old age, which is laughable.

LauraS said...

Shauna--You've articulated one of the major reasons why so may couple are content to remain childfree. We're happy, just the way we are. We may have a lumpy mattress, not much money in the bank. Perhaps we buy our clothes off the clearance racks and drive an old Suburu wagon. Do we care? No, because we made our bed, and we'll happily sleep in it.

Anonymous said...

Hi cf women, I love this site, its great to make online friends. I have a rquest to ask. I am in England, London. Trying to order this book, from Londons bookshops, and keep getting a stone wall, its not the first time. Any books from the U.S about positive childfree women, I can't get in England. The book is by Terri Casey, titled.
Pride & Joy - the lives and passions of women without children. Please don't suggest Amazon, I don't have a credit card, and would not use it on the internet. The bookshop manager said its published by a obsure U.S publishing company. Does anyone have the book, if so, a spare second copy, I could have. Its hard enough going to the trendy bookshops in London, filled with mothers and their babies, and have to say the title of the book, I get really funny, and hostile looks. Keep up the good work on the site.

LauraS said...

I saw your post. I have this book; I have almost every book written on this subject in my library because I am working on my own book on the childfree marriage. However, I can't give my only copy up quite yet. However, I was in a used book shop the other day and found another very pristine used copy I bought for $7.00. If you want it I will be happy to send it to you. Just go to and click on "contact us" on any page of the website, and give me your name and mailing address in the UK and I will make arrangements to get it to you.

Meg from The Bargain Queen & All About Appearances said...

I can't remember what we spent on our mattress, but it was over a grand and worth every penny. My husband and I could definitely use a vacation, though.

I think about all the things I'd have to cut if we had kids and it terrifies me. I like being able to live on one income while I work on building a new career -- and still eat out, buy lots of cheap shoes, and support our four cats.

Also, I like that I can spend money on friends who do appreciate it, instead of kids who would probably feel entitled.

Keep said...

Interesting facts...

I'm not married yet, but when I am, I will not decide to go childless.

I'll be grateful of whether or not God will give me kids :-)


Elsa @ Lower Cholesterol