No Thanks, Some Men Say


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Fact checked by Shannon Sparks


A growing number of men are saying no to fatherhood. The number of men who don’t want children has doubled over the past two decades, according to a 2022 study. 

Although the study doesn’t explore the men’s reasoning, Michael Goldstone, a social worker and associate director of the Emerging Adult Team at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, says his clients have cited numerous reasons for choosing a childfree lifestyle. 

“The cost of living in a big city is definitely a factor that creates anxiety, stress, and worry about having children,” Goldstone says. “Interest rates make the American Dream of settling down, buying a house, and starting a family seem unreachable.”

Additionally, some men simply want their freedom, especially after the pandemic. “They want to make up for lost time and see other parts of the world, which [can be] prohibitive if you have children,” Goldstone says. 

He has also heard men express an overriding worry about bringing children into an unwelcoming place. “They are very focused on the state-of-the-world and concerned about the political turmoil, wars, and climate change,” Goldstone says. 

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2024 print issue.