Professor Ellis Cashmore, Visiting Professor of Sociology at Aston University has said that the two children family has been “disappearing for the best part of a century”, as new figures show that families are now only having one child.
The number of 25-year-old women having had a child is at a record-low, with only a quarter of women reaching the threshold having had at least one child.
The Office of National Statistics also found that 18% of women who were aged 45 in 2017 were childless at the end of their childbearing years compared to 10% a generation before.
Professor Cashmore, a Visiting Professor of Sociology at Aston University told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “The 2.4 family has been disappearing for the best part of a century now so this is an extension of a trend that began long ago.
“It is a trend that women want. We know we have a generation of women who don’t simply want to give up their lives and have children.
“They don’t want to have 2,3,4 members of the family to take care of and that is going to bind them to the kitchen.
“They want smaller families to release them after they have children so that they can pursue a professional career and have a certain amount of independence, the same as men.
“That is the good aspect of it.”
He added: “Yes we do have an aging population but I think we will have a healthier and fitter population for longer.”
'30 years ago it was a call for alarm'
Professor Cashmore also said divorce is also a “factor” in the decrease in childbearing, but it was not a “cause”.
“We have also got to contend with the fact that divorce happens. They have one child and get divorced. The child leaves between and they have two parents that are not living in close proximity to each other,” he said.
“They say why burden themselves with another child who may have to go through a similar experience.”
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“It is a factor, it is not the cause of this. We have also got a lot of single parent families and 30 years ago this was a call for great alarm," he added.
“I remember writing a book on this subject and at the time people were saying ‘this is the end of the family as we know it’.
“Nowadays we don’t think it is such a big deal and a single parent is fully capable of rearing one or more children by themselves. As a society, we have adjusted to accommodate that.
“I can’t find anything in the media that has spurred this trend, it is just an almost natural extension that started a long time ago.”