Hipstercrite Life

“Why Did You Decide Not To Have Kids?”- Survey Results

Last week I posted on my blog a survey asking childless friends, acquaintances and complete strangers why they didn’t have children. The response was terrific, and I slightly surpassed- 63-60- the amount of responders for my first poll, “Should I have children? A survey for moms and dads.” If you haven’t read the initial survey, I recommend reading it.

Unlike the first survey, this poll enabled participants to choose “other” and to explain their answers. I did not do that for the first survey because I’m a Luddite.

Below are the results from the second survey. You can also see the entire survey results and comments here.


1.) Why Did You Not Have Children? 

As you will see from the first question, the majority of participants selected “I never felt the desire to have kids.” However, this question had the most comments, with many people explaining that they had multiple reasons for not wanting children, including lack of funds, miscarriages, not wanting to lose freedom and a moral obligation not to have children. Here are a few chosen responses:

“It’s several of these for me. I feel being a parent is the biggest responsibility there is and that your child MUST be you number one priority at all times. I don’t want that responsibility and I don’t think I could appropriately deal with it. My boyfriend and I and our families also have health issues which I would not want to risk passing on to a child.”

“I send the money I would spend on biological children to kids I sponsor in poor Ugandan villages. I can’t imagine bringing more children into the world when there are already so many in need that my money can help. It seems as illogical as buying a dog from a breeder when there are so many wonderful dogs needing to be rescued from shelters. If I had a partner, I would adopt a child, but I would not want to be a single mother like my mom was.”

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2.) Do You Regret Not Having Children? 

A common misconception is that people who decide not to have children will regret their choice. As you can see, the majority of participants said that they do not regret not having children. (Please note: Since I did not ask for age, I would surmise that there is a wide age gap in responses.) Interestingly enough, only one participant selected that they fully regret not having children. Here are a few responses:

“No because I’m able to use my time to rescue and rehabilitate abused animals and advocate for foster kids through CASA. There’s no need to bring more people into the world when there are already so many kids in need that we can help.”

“No because I’m able to use my time to rescue and rehabilitate abused animals and advocate for foster kids through CASA. There’s no need to bring more people into the world when there are already so many kids in need that we can help.”

“I can’t think about it. If I do, it’s too devastating and awful. I hold out hope that it’ll still happen, but I’m turning 40 so time is limited.”

“If I won the lotto I would buy a farm and adopt older unwanted children and give them a home they deserve.”


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3.) How Do You Feel When People Ask You Why You Never Had Kids?

The majority of participants, 68%, selected that they have had healthy conversations with people who inquire why they are childless, while the second majority, 19%, selected that they would love to slap people who ask. However, in the comments, the majority of participants said they are mostly not asked why they don’t have children:

“People don’t ask as frequently as everyone acts like they do.”

“A mixture of al the above… depends on how I am asked, who asked and my personal condition on that day..”

“Honestly, no one has ever asked me that. I do get a lot of moms saying they’re envious of my life and freedom though.”


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4.) Do You Feel That Not Having Children Has Made You More Successful Career-Wise?

The results to this answer were fairly even, with 56% of participants selecting “No,” while 43% selected “Yes.” Here are a few chosen responses:

“Being successful in a career isn’t actually important to me. Being a good person is…I’d say I’m doing an okay job so far.”

“Being successful career-wise has never been important to me really, but I am positive that I am a more successful human being in general because I trusted my gut on the motherhood front.

“I wouldn’t call myself successful or a career person, but having kids would’ve made it harder to do what I’m doing now which is trying to reinvent myself. I work a day job and spend my evenings on painting and my dogs. ain’t no time for kiddos.”

“I actually think women get punished either way. There’s a certain understanding of “oh, i have to take care of my sick kid” that for whatever reason doesn’t get the same respect as “i want to work from home today”. And the mothers in the crew definitely judge you for not having kids and always say things like “oh, it must be so easy to just be able to focus solely on work”. Quite the double standard.”

“No. I don’t think it impacts my success. But I see my friends w/kids who are every bit as successful as we are.”

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5.) Do You Feel That Not Having Children Has Afforded You More Time to Experience Life/The World? 

One belief that these participants don’t doubt is that being childless has afforded them time to travel and experience the world. However, stipulations were voiced in the comments:

“Yes, on the one hand… on the other, kids and kid events seem to bring new people, interests and friends for my friends who have kids. As an adult, it’s hard to make new “hangout friends” whereas my friends with kids always seem to have changing social groups.”

“Not having kids allows me to be the non-baller I always wanted to be. I can be a hermit or antisocial whenever I want! I don’t go gallivanting because I don’t have kids, but more because thats not who I am!”

“To a degree. I always wanted kids, but wanted to wait to meet the right person. I knew in my 20’s wasn’t the right time, so I tried to just live my life. Spent my 30’s in a relationship that I thought would lead to marriage and eventually kids, and it didn’t. Now I’m in my late 30’s, almost 40 and pretty pissed that guy wasted my time.”

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6.) Do You Get the Amount of Sleep You’d Like to Get on a Daily Basis?

I included this question because I posted a similar question on the initial survey for parents. In the first survey, the majority of parents, 54%, said they DO NOT get enough sleep, but that they make do. As you can see from this survey, the majority or childless folks, 67%, said they DO get enough sleep. However, a couple of participants said they get inadequate sleep due to their pets:

“I will say sleeping with 2 large dogs and a husband can be a challenge.”

“mostly. it’s hard to go to bed early on days when I’m feeling tired because my dogs don’t always want to cooperate.”

“Yes, but I’d give up the sleep for being a parent, honestly. It’s worth it.”

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7.) Do You Feel That Your Sex Life is More “Robust” Without Having Children?

I included a similar question on the first survey as well. The majority of parents, 59%, said that they enjoy less sexy time now with kiddos in the house. As you will see, 65% of participants on this survey selected that they have an active sex life. Chosen responses include:

“Compared to my married friends, yes, but it’s not less complicated.”

“I’m no longer interested in a sex life.”

“Hard to say, but probably about the same.”

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8.) Are You Afraid You’re Going to Die Alone?

As you will see from the poll below, dying alone is NOT something that most childless people dwell on. The majority of participants selected that they worry about dying alone “A little bit, but aren’t we all alone in the end?” Only five participants selected “Oh God. Yes” when prompted with the question. Here are a few chosen responses:

“This is a top question people ask me when they find out we dont want kids. They want to know who will take care of us when we get older. Typically they dont like my answer….”there is no guarantee your kids will take care of you.”

“The fact you have children does not imply that you are not alone “in the end”. To have children for “to take care of me when I am old” would never be ok. in my opinion. Children can live in other continents, far far away and they are not a insurance.”

“I expect my sisters will outlive me, and i told my husband he has to. Mostly, we have planned retirements so we can afford to retire well. Perhaps to a former mansion, in upstate New York, that is now an old folks home. I sort of love that idea.”

“No – not having kids and volunteering in the community has given me a huge group of selfless friends who have been there for me through thick and thin. I visit old people in nursing homes whose kids never visit and break their hearts – having kids is no guarantee of companionship or assistance when you are old.”

“Hmmm. Sort of? Not afraid of dying alone–we all do–but afraid of not having anyone there as I age and exit the world. Some people are okay with that, and that’s fine. But, to me, I would have liked to have had my own children, to know I left the world with good people (hopefully!) in my place.”

“I have decided I want to live in a Golden Girls home.”

“Because I have plenty of MONEY (because I don’t have to spend it on rugrats) I’ll be easily able to arrange for end-of-life care and final expenses long before i plan to need them. As far as emotionally…we all die alone.”

“that is what my mother is afraid for me.”

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9.) What do You Think of the Opinion That Not Having Children is “Selfish”?

A common belief I hear from people with children is that people who decide NOT to have children are selfish. It goes without saying that an overwhelming majority, 88%, dislike it when you tell them they’re being selfish for not pumping out the kiddos. Here are a few chosen responses:

“I may be a little selfish. I prefer being a little selfish and suffer with my bad contition healthwise and not give pressure to me and children with having them.”

“I think bringing more people into an overpopulated world is selfish. Having a biological child rather than adopting is a narcissistic desire to have a “mini-me.”

“I think it’s disrespectful, and completely ignores the complexity of the reasons why. People have children to keep a spouse – that seems far more selfish to me, or for attention, or other reasons that are not about thinking what’s best for this new little person they are bringing into the world. That seems more selfish.”

“I think people should do what they want. If it’s selfish, why not? It’s my life if that’s my choice. But when it’s not your choice, then that sucks.”

“I am selfish and I am ok with that.”

“I don’t hate it, really. I think that opinion is pretty easily ignored, just like any time people use angry language to describe a lifestyle – chosen or otherwise – that isn’t exactly like their own.”


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10.) Have You Even Considered Adoption, Whether It’s Because You Physically Can’t Have Children or Decided Not to Have Children Biologically? 

Yes, I did write psychically below. Don’t judge.

As to whether or not participants would adopt, the answer was split. Fifty percent of participants said they would never have kiddos, while forty-five percent said they would consider it. Here are a few responses:

“I’ve looked into adopting and fostering at different times. I’d be open to that, or step-parenting as I like kids – even though I didn’t have them. But I would want to make sure it’s in the best interests of the kid, not just for me to “check it off the list.”

“People often say, “you can always adopt!” but it’s an initial outlay of 30K (at least) AND a difficult process. You can wait for years. If you’re single, you’re kinda screwed unless you’re super financially set. It’s not as easy as, yup, I’ll adopt.”

“Tried 3 times – never worked out.”

“My partner has children. They are enough. I care for them like they are my own. But I am also happy when they are at their mothers…”


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  • Reply karo July 8, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Physically or Psychically?

    “because you psychically can’t have children” might be true for all of us haha.

  • Reply Natasha July 9, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I enjoyed reading about this topic and the survey, results and comments were interesting. You sound a lot like me, already an anxious person, never had a real desire to have children but now at that age that it’s imperative we think about it and make a choice one way or the other. I liked hearing other peoples thoughts on the subject and it’s comforting to see the same thoughts as mine reiterated. In a society obsessed with children its hard to find like-minded people and its important for us too to have a support network. At this stage of my life (early 30s) I end up hanging out with people who have older kids (but even then they don’t have the money to hang out or “weekends are family time” ) or younger people who haven’t fallen victim to it yet (and generally I’m passed that 20s lifestyle too). I have made a couple of good friends who will remain childless although it’s a shame they live in different parts of the world (people I met travelling). Funny, my mum’s main concern was also that I’d die alone but unfortunately I’m afraid my siblings will be there for her only through a sense of obligation and nothing more genuine. My sister, older by 10 years, with 3 not very well developed teenagers now says to me “you’re making the right decision”. And 98% of the time I only hear negativity coming from my friends with kids about their own children. Although not having kids does not make me less anxious about the future and the state of it, and in fact I’d say I’m way more concerned and take more precautions than any of the people I know that have kids.

  • Reply Barbara Anastasia July 9, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Please, please, PLEASE – “child-free!”

    “Childless” upholds the assumption that we are “supposed” to procreate – that it’s the norm – when really that is just a giant-game-of-telephone-myth, started by the MEN who wrote the bible. Even back then, they knew that the best way to permanently suppress women was to convince them that they were “less” without breeding more humans.

    Too many people don’t even bother to question “whether” – only when – to breed. Too many non-breeders buy into that crap so thoroughly that they are silenced by their own belief that they are “less than” or miss out on something by remaining child-free.

    To bring yet another incurious follower into the world is NOT “special” – any more than a dog having puppies is cause for reverence or preferential treatment. I say revere the women who are thoughtful and compassionate enough to override biology and CHOOSE how to live their lives based on their own intuition, rather than the ones who unquestioningly cave to societal | peer | family pressure to breed.

    • Reply Nina Potts July 28, 2015 at 2:03 am

      I prefer the term child free as well.

      However, I don’t think I overrode biology to not have children. That implies that all women have an inherent desire to have children. I never had that desire. I’ve known my entire life I didn’t want kids. This has influenced who I dated (no people with kids, or that might want them), and that’s the only place in my life where any attempt to pressure me hasn’t happened, because I didn’t waste time with anyone who wanted kids.

      I will say, once I had my hysterectomy last year (at 34) that I get much less inquiries about if/when my partner and I will have kids. It’s nice not ever having to explain and have people be rude about it. (Because people are not nice when we say it’s because we really don’t like kids)

  • Reply Mo North July 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    And why would you put this much effort into weighing the whole question of having/not having kids unless you yourself were deeply intrigued/tempted/terrified by the notion, am I right? 😉

    There is no date on your post so I’m not sure if you wrote this 12 years ago and now have a bevy of kids, or what, but…

    I would like to see you do a second questionnaire focused on people who HAVE kids, and find out why they had them (answering anonymously and as honestly as possible). Among the questions I encourage you to ask:

    Did you plan to have a kid or kids, or did it happen and you had to plan around it?
    Did having kids make you less selfish than you would have been otherwise, in your opinion?
    Now that you’ve had kids, would you recommend having kids to your own kids?
    Actually, wow, there are a million questions I’d love to ask the general populace…but at any rate, these could get you started. I think it would only be fair to your haphazard study of the subject, such as it is, to gather some commentary from “the other side” of the child wall.

    This is always a topic you can get people to talk about, that’s for sure.

    I’ve read a handful of your posts and enjoy your writing style. Part of me wonders if your “voice” might not take on a different tone if you had kids vs. didn’t have them. Impossible to say. Either way, enjoy the journey!

    • Reply hipstercrite July 12, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      I linked to the first survey, ‘Why Did You Have Kids,’ in the beginning! That was my first survey.

  • Reply Sheila September 19, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Did you ask your participants if they were gay or straight? I’m learning that older gays, especially men, simply never thought it a viable option and only now are admitting their longing.
    A friend in his 60s enlightened me.

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