No future, no kids–no kids, no future? An exploration of motivations to remain childfree in times of climate change

Sabrina Helm, Joya A. Kemper, Samantha K. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individuals around the world believe global climate change is a major threat, with media attention and polling suggesting young adults may decide to go childfree as a result. Yet, there is limited research on the link between environmental concern and reproductive attitudes. The purpose of this research was to explore how climate change-related concerns affect reproductive attitudes and motivations to remain childfree. Two studies were conducted: study 1 consisted of a content analysis of reader comments on articles discussing going childfree in response to climate change, and study 2 featured semi-structured interviews conducted in New Zealand and the USA. The impact of future children on the planet, in the context of overpopulation and overconsumption, was a major theme in both studies. Perspectives of doom and hope emerged simultaneously, indicating how climate anxiety influences reproductive attitudes. Study findings point at implications for public policy makers regarding this largely neglected perspective on climate change adaptation and mitigation and potential psychological and societal effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-129
Number of pages22
JournalPopulation and Environment
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Childfree
  • Climate change
  • Environmental concern
  • Fertility intentions
  • Overconsumption
  • Overpopulation
  • Reproduction
  • Reproductive attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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