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Fewer Women Are Having Babies in the U.S.

Fewer Women Are Having Babies in the U.S.

According to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of babies born per female between the ages of 15 and 44 is declining in the U.S.

In fact, this fertility rate has been cataloged since 1909, and hasn't been as low since.

This is due to a number of reasons. Research has shown that when children arise, love declines in marriages, that there are less resources to childcare for the average working parent, and lastly, that children are simply expensive.

In addition to this being a love-based and money-based phenomenon, perhaps more women don't want to have children because they want to have more time for themselves. 

Bonnie Gayle recently shared her story with TIME to talk more in depth on the subject. She titles the piece, "I Didn't Have Kids Because They're Too Expensive — and I Have No Regrets," as if she has to defend herself for making the less-conventional decision in society's eyes. 

"If it sounds like I didn't think much about having children, that's not the case," Gayle said. "It wasn't a decision I made lightly. On the contrary, it was something that took a lot of soul searching on my part."

A study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln created a national survey of nearly 1,200 American women of reproductive age with no children, concluding that "Women who choose to be permanently child free perceive more social pressures to become mothers than other women, but feel less distress about not having kids than women who are childless from infertility or other reasons."

Gayle, as an individual, prefers staying focused on her career and financial stability as a child-less woman.

"Instead of investing in a family, I’ve invested in myself — and the return on that investment has been well worth it," Gayle said.

She isn't alone either. New York Magazine compiled a piece in 2014 illuminating female icons commenting on their reasons for being childless. Some of our own MAKERS were featured, and this is what they have to say on the matter:

"I'm completely happy not having children. I mean, everybody does not have to live in the same way. And as somebody said, 'Everybody with a womb doesn't have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer." —Gloria Steinem

"Honestly, we'd probably be great parents. But it's a human being, and unless you think you have excellent skills and have a drive or yearning in you to do that, the amount of work that that is and responsibility — I wouldn't want to screw them up! We love our animals." —Ellen DeGeneres

"I won't have kids but I may still get married. But I would have lived a very fulfilled life if I had gotten married and had kids, too. But I'm very religious and I at some very deep level believe that things are going to work out as they're supposed to. The key is to be open to that and to appreciate the life that you've been given." —Condoleezza Rice

"It was not my destiny, I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn’t care what people thought … It was only boring old men [who would ask me]. And whenever they went, 'What? No children? Well, you'd better get on with it, old girl,' I’d say 'No! F*** off!'" —Helen Mirren

"I don't have children, and I am not sure if I have wanted them or never wanted them. It's weird not to be able to decide. I don’t know if I could stand that kind of commitment, or if I am really honest, I don’t think that I could handle being that vulnerable to someone else." —Margaret Cho

NEXT: Childbirth in the 60s »

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Photo Credit: Getty images