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Poll: More Americans don't plan on having kids

Some 44% of childless adults under 50 say it's unlikely they'll ever have kids -- up from 37% in 2018.

WASHINGTON — If someone in your life doesn't plan on having kids, they're far from alone. 

According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, 44% of childless adults under 50 say it's "not too likely" or "not at all likely" they'll ever have kids. That's up 7 percentage points from the center's 2018 survey. 

Of that same group, 26% said it's "very likely" they'll have kids someday -- down from 32% in the 2018 survey. 

Men and women were equally likely to say they probably won't have kids. Childless adults in their 40s, however, were more likely to choose this option than the younger crowd.  

The responses line up with a May 2021 CDC report, which found that the U.S. birth rate fell 4% in 2020. That's the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years -- and experts say economic uncertainties during the pandemic doubtless contributed. However, the Pew Research Center said U.S. fertility rates were already at a record low before the pandemic.

READ MORE: US birth rates drop for every major race, ethnicity and almost every age group

What were their reasons?

For most of the adults who consider themselves unlikely to have kids (56%), the reason for not having kids was pretty simple: They just don't want to.

The rest of the group said they had other reasons for not having kids, but no one reason truly stood out. They were able to write in up to three reasons. 

  • Medical reasons: 19%
  • Financial reasons: 17%
  • Don't have a partner: 15%
  • Age or partner's age: 10%
  • State of the world: 9%
  • Environmental reasons: 5%
  • Partner doesn't want kids: 2%

RELATED: Five takeaways from the release of 2020 census data

What about current parents?

A majority of parents 18-49 said they're unlikely to have more kids -- 74%. The Pew Research Center said this statistic is virtually unchanged since the 2018 survey. Similar to the childless adults, 63% of parents who said they're unlikely to have more kids said they just don't want to. That left 37% with other reasons, with age and medical concerns standing out. 

  • Age or partner's age: 29%
  • Medical reasons: 23%
  • Financial reasons: 14%
  • Already have kids: 11%
  • State of the world: 4%
  • No partner: 2%
  • Partner doesn't want more kids: 2%

You can read the survey questions here and the Pew Research Center's methodology here

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