‘Families: Ever Fewer, or No Children: How Worried Should We Be?’ – a new report just released by Family First NZ – drew attention to New Zealand’s all-time low fertility rate of 1.7 births per woman in 2018.
Fewer women are becoming mothers. 16 percent of 45-49 year-old women were childless at the 2013 Census – almost double the 9% in 1981. But international data shows even fewer men are becoming fathers.
Report author Lindsay Mitchell says, “Childlessness affects more men than women. In the absence of New Zealand data, two countries with total fertility rates not dissimilar to New Zealand – Norway at 1.56 in 2018 and the US at 1.728 in 2018 – have collected data relating to childless males.”
According to Science Norway: “Fertility figures from Statistics Norway show that fewer and fewer men in Norway are fathering children. The share of men who are childless at age 45 rose from 14 percent in 1985 to 23 percent in 2013. The share of women who had not become mothers by age 45 increased from 10 percent in 1985 to 13 percent in 2013.”
In the United States, 2014, the US Census Bureau reported, “Just under a quarter of U.S. men between ages 40 and 50 were childless.”
These percentages are unsurprisingly similar and quite likely to mirror male childlessness in New Zealand.