Ageing Without Children




We have estimated the numbers of people over 65 without children in each local authority area. This is based on ONS figures of 1 in 9 women born in 1940 not giving birth. Based on academic research we have assumed an equal % of men will be without children though in reality the male figure may in fact be higher


It is difficult to give definite figures on the numbers of people ageing without children primarily because in the UK and across the world (with the exception of Norway), it is only the numbers of women without children that is recorded which means half the data, that relating to men is missing. It is also important to bear in mind that the numbers below refer only to those people who have never had children and does not include people who are estranged from their children or whose children have predeceased them.

  • The Office for National Statistics (UK)Cohort Fertility 2010 shows that 20% of those women born in the mid-1960s have no children. Although the data will not be available until around 2020, anecdotally it appears that a higher proportion of women born in the 1970s may not have children (by choice or not).
  • A 2006 paper Centre for Market and Public Organisation at Bristol Institute of Public Affairs ‘Fertility and women’s education in the UK: A cohort analysis’ by Anita Ratcliffe and Sarah Smith shows that women born in 1955 were the first to see their childlessness double to 1 in 5.
  • Using Data from GGS (2003‐2010) and Understanding Society Survey 2009‐12 for the UK, a 2014 working paper from Finland’s Väestöliitto Väestöntutkimuslaitos (The Population Research Institute) ‘Europe: time trends and country differences’ by Anneli Miettinen, Anna Rotkirch, Ivett Szalma, Annalisa Donno and Maria-Letizia Tanturri shows that: ‘Male lifetime childlessness is highest (above 23% among men aged 45–49) in Finland, Italy, Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic.’
  • The Institute of Public Policy Research estimates that by 2030 there will be 2 million people aged over 65 without adult children, up from 1.2 million in 2012. Approximately 230,000 of them will be in need of more than 20 hours’ care a week and will have no informal support. Read the IPPR report ‘Generation Strain’ here.
  • Recent data coming out Holland from the work of Professor Renske Keizer, Family Sociologist at the Erasmus Univesity Rotterdam) estimates that of women who have no children, 10% of them have chosen this (‘childfree’), 10% are medically infertile and 80% are childless by circumstances not of their choice.

1 Comment

  1. […] also explores the experiences of an often underrepresented group of older people – those who age without children. Within the opening minutes of the film, we see that Carl and Ellie’s attempts to have children […]


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