The percentage of U.S. women in their 30s and 40s who are childless is rising, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.
Some 15.3 percent of U.S. women aged 40 to 44 were childless in June 2014, up from 15.1 percent in 2012.
Changes in Census’s data processing likely affected its estimates for 2010 to 2012. But even before that, the trend was up: 9.6 percent of women in this age group were childless in 2010, up from 9.2 percent in 2008.
For women in their late 30s, the rise in childlessness is sharper. Around 18.5 percent of women 35 to 39 were childless last June, up from 17.2 percent in 2012.
All told, 47.6 percent of U.S. women aged 15 to 44 were without children last year, up from 46.5 percent in 2012.
The data are the latest to show that childlessness is on the rise in the U.S. as more women (and their partners) delay marriage and childbearing.
Because fertility declines significantly for women in their 40s—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define a woman’s child-bearing years as 15 to 44—demographers carefully watch these women to get a sense of how many children Americans are having, or not.