Baby boom and statistics or not: of course there are also people who don't have children. Because they consciously decide against it. Or? "The percentage of those who really don't want children is low", says birgit mayer-lewis. The expert on the subject of the unfulfilled desire to have children at the bamberg state institute for family research (ifb) knows this not only from her own projects, but it is also the core statement of a study by the federal ministry for family affairs.
In june 2015, this study provided data for the first time on the situation of childless women and men from different milieus and showed that "there is little talk about deliberate childlessness, says mayer-lewis. "The people concerned are afraid of being stigmatized and labeled as selfish people." But it is not that easy to make a – possibly negative – judgement about the people concerned. Of all childless women and men between the ages of 20 and 50, 75 percent wanted to have no children. "But that is not a stable factor", mayer-lewis explains. "It may well be that someone says, "I'm 31 now and I can't imagine having a child yet. But basically I have a desire to have children."
Establishing themselves professionally for the first time …
For the moment, the potential mothers and fathers argued that they had perhaps not yet found the right partner, that they first wanted to create a financial basis and establish themselves professionally. However, postponing the future and waiting for the "right moment" is not that easy often crooked. "Fertility declines rapidly after the age of 30. Many don't know that", says mayer-lewis. "This is how an initially wanted childlessness often turns into an unwanted childlessness."
… And then it is often too late
The study confirms this: for 25 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 25 and 45, the wish to have children did not work out. Apart from organic causes, it often fails due to a partner. "31 percent of all germans between 25 and 45 are single", mayer-lewis quotes the statistics. "This is exactly the age at which the family foundation is ideally implemented." If offspring do emerge, they tend to do so late – a relatively large proportion of first-born are over 30, he says. The family researcher is not surprised about this average. "Nowadays there are so many fixed-term contracts and young people have to be extremely flexible in their careers. For parenthood, women and men usually also want to have a stable financial basis, and this is often not yet available in the mid-20s."
Those affected must find a new way of life
That's why one in five women between the ages of 40 and 44 is childless. But: "one must not assume that they always want to be childless as well. It just did not happen in your biography", balances mayer-lewis. Because of the "loving transition" between wanted and unwanted, the people concerned have been partly redefined. "They look for a new image of life and then come to the conclusion to accept childlessness in order not to be deficient."
However, this is a temporary and not a permanent attitude. "All surveys on this subject show that most people still want a family and children."