1 in 5 women aged 45 are childless according to statistics

By Nina Steele 

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 1 in 5 women aged 45 are childless. In addition the study also found that unlike their mothers’ generation many women aged 30 today are childless and many will remain childless by age 45, which is generally considered the age around which a woman stops being able to reproduce.

Among the reasons cited for this trend are that unlike their mothers’ generation many of the women of today are educated and so they go on to pursue a career, which as we all know can mean that many feel they have to postpone having children in order to compete effectively and get the promotion they deserve. Whether it is realistic to want a career and children at the same time is open for debate, but as the figures show, the more educated women get, the less children they tend to have.

Other reasons for the increase in women being childless today according to the same findings are that fewer are getting married and also that being childless is no longer frowned upon as it once was, and instead it has become more socially acceptable. Even so, there is still a lot of stigma attached to women being childless compared to men and there have been many articles in the media related to this very subject.

It seems that there is still a section of society which equates the role of women with child rearing and so cannot reconcile that view with the image of the modern woman, who is often well educated and has greater aspirations than just being a mother. I suppose you can also argue that changes in society such as the rise in the cost of living, leave many women with no other viable options other than to have a career. How else are these women expected to live, even those with a partner/husband who works, as one salary is no longer enough to live well, unless of course one is earning a great deal of money, which the average person isn’t.

In light of all the above, it looks like this trend is not about to be reversed, far from it. Ultimately, whatever path a woman chooses to follow is up to her, and whether she makes a conscious decision not to have children or finds that she has left it too late, should not be used against her. 

I just hope that those women who find that they have left it too late or do not have children due to other circumstances, are able to come to terms with it and go on to live fulfilled lives, because ultimately, there is more to life than having children.


  1. Julez Fitzmond says

    In a way, it shocks me that it is one in five. That’s 20%, and for some reason it sounds higher when you put it like that. But, at the same time, I think it’s great for people on here to be able to read because it just goes to show that actually, we’re far from being alone. If only we could get all of those women to join us here to chat, we could have an amazing support system!

    • I am not at all surprised by these figures because of the change in society. As the article points out, the more educated women become and go on to have careers, the more likely that they are to put off having children. Adding to that is the fact since programmes such as Sex and the City, being single is no longer viewed with suspicion, far from it.

      • Julez Fitzmond says

        Society has definitely moved on a lot since the days when women simply stayed at home, produced children and then looked after them! And of course that’s no bad thing. The only time it’s an issue is when women who genuinely wanted children don’t manage to do so because they ran out of time. But I do think most women have it in their minds.

  2. So, we’re not as rare as people like to think, then! How wonderful. It’s good to have a look at the various reasons that different people have for not having children. It at least makes me understand that my decision isn’t rare and is something that a lot of other people are going through, even though at times people might make you feel as though it’s the most ridiculous thing not to want in the whole world.

    • Julez Fitzmond says

      Definitely not rare, Dawn! Don’t worry. If anything, you should be proud of your decision, and proud of the fact that you have stuck to it despite the fact that people around you might have tried to encourage you to do otherwise. This is great, because bringing a child into the world that you didn’t want could ruin their life – so your decision is a brave one.

      • Dawn Kells says

        I wouldn’t think that “proud” is the right word, but I do agree that it’s good that I’ve always stuck to the way I feel without listening to others. Lots of people must have children just purely because of the fact that other people tell them to, and that isn’t at all fair on the child.

  3. There are currently 5.9 million couples in the UK without children and that figure goes up to 7.5 million when taking into account other family types. So childless people are quite a sizeable portion of the population. The only reason why it does not feel like it in practice is because childless people tend to be less vocal than people with children.

    • Julez Fitzmond says

      5.9 million couples, so that’s 11.8 (if my maths is correct) million people. That sounds even more amazing than the 1 in 5 statistic! I suppose people without children don’t really feel the need to shout about it. Even the other family types (I assume by that you mean things like step families etc) are less well known about, so there are lots of different people out there!

      • Dawn Kells says

        Yes it would seem a little odd to talk about not having children as something to actually discuss in that way. Because having children is a huge change in life, NOT having children is just basically saying that their lives are continuing as normal, so not something that people would think to discuss in the same way.

        • Julez Fitzmond says

          True. But as long as people have forums like this that they can come on and discuss things, those women will not feel as though they are quite as alone as they might have done in the past.

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