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The misconception about remaining childfree that bothers many of us the most is that people who decide not to have children are SELFISH. Some data/facts on this issue:

In 1992, Rathus and Nevid (both psychologists) interviewed hundreds of couples on their reasons for having or not having children. They found couples with children had 9 common answers for their decision, and that couples without children had 13 common answers for their decision.

To summarize, they are:


  1. Personal experience - to have the experience of being a parent
  2. Personal pleasure - the fun and joy of raising children
  3. Personal extension - carrying on the genetic heritage or family name
  4. Relationship - the close bond which is shared with children
  5. Personal status - culture affords some respect just for being a parent
  6. Personal competence - gratification from facing the challenge of parenting
  7. Personal responsibility - the opportunity to look out for the welfare and education of another
  8. Personal power - some find the power they have over children gratifying
  9. Moral worth - some feel it is a good and selfless act to put the life of another first, or that it is a moral obligation to have children

  1. Time together - more time each other and for other interests
  2. Freedom - more opportunity to pursue other areas of life
  3. Other children - can enjoy other children, and can help children who are already here through foster parenting or charity work with children
  4. Dual careers - both people may pursue careers full time, a person (woman) does not have to quit, and a child is not raised by day care
  5. Financial security - more money to pursue other interests
  6. Community welfare - greater opportunity to get involved in community organizations
  7. Difficulty - parenthood is a demanding and difficult job which is not always enjoyable
  8. Strain on environmental resources - the world is already overpopulated and is unable to support the people who are already here
  9. Increase in overpopulation - having children geometrically increases this problem and all of the problems that come with it
  10. Choice not mandate - parenthood has to be a choice, not everyone is meant to be a parent
  11. Irrevocable decision - once the decision is made it cannot be changed, so people must be sure it is what they want
  12. Failure - some people had unhappy or abusive childhoods and fear that they would not be a good parent
  13. Danger - the world is a dangerous place and it is not right to bring a child into it

In our opinion, it seems that all of the 9 reasons given for having children are selfish; they are all about what the parent will gain for themselves (love, bonding, etc.) While only 5 of the 13 reasons for not having children are selfish, the other 8 involve concerns for the world, the community, and the child that would be born.

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