- Research has tended to focus on why rather than how the decision is made
- The biggest themes found in one study were "conscious decision" and "process"
Despite the recent findings that having kids might be harmful to your self-esteem, it's pretty safe to say that American culture is "pronatalist": As soon as you graduate college, start a career, and marry somebody, the next level of the video game called life is parenthood. Whether it's your mom asking about would-be grandkids over the holidays or the endless parade of domestic sitcoms, there's an agreed-upon assumption that "family" includes children, and that not having kids must be the result of infertility or just not getting around to it. But these expectations are at odds with changes in the way people are living: From the 1970s to the 2000s, the number of childless women in the U.S. nearly doubled, and the national data suggests that 15 percent of women and 24 percent of men hit 40 without having kids.