Despite the fact that 1/2 of all women of childbearing age do NOT have children by choice, chance or circumstance, I feel that this unique demographic is largely misunderstood and as a result, largely unrecognized for their contributions to society. I’m curious to know how you feel about these statistics. Feeling forgotten or misunderstood?
The facts speak for themselves - nearly half of all childbearing women (between the ages of 15 and 44) are without children, according to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey - the most current data available on this topic. This is the highest percentage of childless women recorded to date since the bureau started tracking this statistic in 1976!
More women of childbearing age are waiting longer to have their first child, a trend we have seen for quite some time now, among other trends such as choosing to marry later in life and have fewer kids. As shocked as I was to learn of this statistic, I feel validated knowing that I am no longer part of a minority group, but rather a growing cohort of women who according to the evidence are living happy and fulfilled lives despite choosing to be “refusenicks” (a term I just recently became aware of and quite fond of).
But why do I still feel as though our unique demographic is overlooked somehow? Whether you are watching TV or browsing on social media, I do not see marketers or corporate America reaching out to us the way they reach out to mothers with children. Whether it’s a commercial for Ford, Staples, Bounty paper towels or Petsmart, the majority of ads show women with children. However, I own a Ford Edge, consider Staples to be my “second office”, swear by Bounty paper towels to clean up dog messes around the house and count Petsmart as one of my weekly stops. Yet never have I seen a single woman without kids in tow in any of their commercials.
If you ask some of the experts who have been tracking the growing demographic of child-free women, the reasons are theoretical at best and include uncertainty among marketers as to how exactly they should pitch to us and corporate America choosing to chase a “tried and true” demographic. Moms, traditionally the decision makers in the household, spent $3.4 trillion in 2015 and represent the largest spending consumer group in the USA, according to Maria Bailey, chief executive of the marketing firm BSM Media. Yet according to research performed by Melanie Notkin (founder of the website SavvyAuntie) and DeVries Global (a public relations and marketing company), women without children spend 2x as much on beauty and hair products, spend 60% more time traveling abroad and 35% more on groceries than women without kids!
I’m curious to know how you feel about these statistics. Feeling forgotten or misunderstood?