percentage of childless people over 50, by gender?

Failing badly on Google, has anyone got data on this?

In the US, [URL=]per the 2010 census, about 81% of women have borne a child by age 41-44.
In 1976 that number was about 90%.

I take that to mean about 15-19% of women over 50 in the US have no biological children, in round numbers.

Harder to say for men, but I’m guess every males is at least practicing, alone or with partners, as opportunity arises.

A few numbers on US fathers
Some may be lying low…

Fixing the link for mothers.

And some breakdown.
Sorry; it’s past my bedtime.

Thanks for that. Childless women, by age group:

.35 to 39 years 19.7%
.40 to 44 years 18.8%

I guess that last number isn’t going to move too much from 45 and up.
Real problems finding numbers on men …

It may rise modestly, for two reasons.

First, some of the women who currently have children may lose them, i.e. they may outlive their children. Whether they then become “childless” depends on your definition of childless.

But, secondly, never-married women tend to live longer than women who have married, and course childless women will be over-represented in the never-married woman. So in the very old age cohorts I would expect the proportion of childless women to be greater.

The general trend in first world countries is that people are having fewer children. I interpret this to mean also a lot more people are having zero children (along with the one-child families and shortage of families over 2 or 3 children).

See this and as example, but it’s not atypical of many first world countries - 25% of men say “no”.

Partly this is economic - a decent lifestyle nowadays requires two incomes, and each child costs a huge amount in terms of lost income and career opportunities for the mother, and high child care expenses… not to mention future college costs. Or, maybe we’re progressively more spoiled generations with more fun things to do than change diapers and babysit.

A pervasive attitude in male circles that divorce and child support will bleed a man dry and then society will stack the deck against you for the next 22 years - that doesn’t encourage men to have children either.

However, I think the waves of global financial woes of the last few decades, each seeming worse than the last, is making most couples hesitant to “take the plunge” and we’ll continue to see dropping reproduction rates.

You gotta think that a lot of the 35-39’s who do have a child are probably not likely to have more than one.

For some reason, I was thinking that married people live longer but maybe, as the joke goes, it just seems longer?

I also like the new term I learned: “completed fertility.”

Two responses: Women whose children die do not become childless by any definition used by the people who keep these statistics, and demographers stop looking at women’s fertility around age 45. (We might need to rethink the latter, although sample size would get so low after that point that numbers would be really shaky in anything other than a census.) Bottom line - for a given cohort, the percent who are childless only goes down, it never goes up.

UDS and BetsQ - thanks for that exchange, it was most insightful.

I can’t find the link now but in that specific cohort (35-39’s) I’m sure I read that, if married and childless, it’s likely the mother will have two in quick succession if she any at all - you may be correct about above this cohort.

Same, and same.
No data on men …

far too much reading…

I’m pretty sure that it’s absolutely no surprise that the number of women in the .35 years age group who have children is 0. And that it will always be zero. :dubious:

While we are waiting for someone with superior google skills, do you believe that there is a significant difference between the genders?

There is a lot there. Interesting titbit

“By the age of 40, 85% of women have had a birth and 76% of men have fathered a child” (pdf, page 10, col 3)

No data kept after the age of 44 …

If the topic is babymaking, I’d say yes.

Male and female experience is different here. Basically, marrying increases a man’s life expectancy, but reduces a woman’s.

We need to be careful about terminology here. It’s “never-married women” who top the actuarial tables. A large chunk of “single women” are divorced or separated. The divorced fair worse that those who marry, and so drag down the average for single women.

So, ladies, if you want to live a long time, don’t marry. But if you do marry, stay married. Gentlemen, marry and stay married. And, both groups, don’t smoke. And be sure to choose parents who are themselves long-lived.

Humans are thought to have on average about twice as many female ancestors as male ancestors, so historically it seems that women have been much more fertile.

The closest age I could find data for was age 40. By age 40 85% of women and 76% of men have had at least one biological child. See Figure 4 below:

I thought I’d expand a bit more, since I was running off to a meeting yesterday.

Most fertility information in the U.S. comes from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is best known for producing official unemployment statistics, but it regularly has a supplement that asks a few fertility questions. This supplement has typically been administered every two years, but it looks like it was most recently done in June 2010.

These questions are only asked of women who are between the ages of 15 and 44. As of 2010, the survey questions consisted of:

*How many live births, if any, have you ever had?
*When was your last child born?

The best source for data on men’s fertility in the U.S. is the National Survey of Family Growth, administered by the CDC/NCHS, which is what is used in a couple of the above links.

Historically, fertility measurements have been based only on data from women because, well, women have a higher degree of certainty about whether or not they’ve ever had a child. Fertility measures are frequently used to assess trends over time. In these cases, it is very helpful to use exactly the same measures at each point in time, or otherwise your results will have a lot of asterisks. Therefore, demographers are extremely reluctant to change the ways in which these data are collected and the ways in which fertility rates are calculated.

Among those age 45 and older category, 86% of women and 84% of men report having had at least one biological child: