The Growing Culture Of Childlessness

Even in the more traditional societies in Europe and Japan, more and more women delaying motherhood, or forgoing it completely. Accompanying the shift is a whole industry, from restaurants to real estate developers, catering to childless households.
August 30, 2006, 9am PDT | maryereynolds
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"Lifetime childlessness in western Germany has hit 30 percent among university-educated women, and is rapidly rising among lower-class men. In Britain, the number of women remaining childless has doubled in 20 years. In Japan, where the birthrate stands at a dismal 1.25 per woman, a record 56 percent of 30-year-old women are still childless, up from 24 percent in 1985."

"Today the decision to haveâ€"or not haveâ€"a child is the result of a complex combination of factors, including relationships, career opportunities, lifestyle and economics."

"In Australia, real-estate developers and agents have focused on the childless as the fastest-growing type of household. With their generally higher spending power, the childless are driving real-estate prices in expensive areas like Manhattan and central London; a recent British study showed a house's value drops by 5 percent if neighbors move in with teenage kids. Hotels are catering to the childless, too; Italy's La Veduta country resort promises, 'Your Tuscan holiday will not be shattered by the clamor of children.' In Rome, many restaurants make it clear that children are not welcomeâ€"in some cases by establishing themselves as clubs, where members must be older than 18 to join."

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Published on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 in Newsweek International Edition
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