An Apology to Child-free Millennial Women


6/2/13 UPDATE: The survey is now closed.

This week, invited women without children in America and elsewhere to take our new survey called One-Fifth & Growing: A Survey of Women Without Children. The objective is to learn more about  who these women are and how they live. But, within 24 hours after its release, it was clear that I’d made a big mistake.

A year ago this month, requirements for a business plan for the website included hours of research — at the library, online…wherever I could find the data I needed. Parameters had to be set. I selected women age 34-64, a range I viewed as a 30-year span beginning as the possibility of lifelong childlessness is a recurring thought and ending after menopause has confirmed it. As a childless by-chance woman, I thought that by the mid-thirties, a woman would know “for sure” whether her choice to live childfree was valid.

Thanks to several 20-something women who sent messages asking why they were locked out of the survey, I now see the errors in my thinking.

Certainly, there are many women in their early 20s who know beyond any doubt that they will never have children, by their own choice. There are also younger women in that age group who know beyond a doubt that they are physically incapable of childbirth.

And that’s why assumptions are bad things. The survey has been modified to accept responses from women in their 20s. I’d always hoped that this survey would shake up misperceptions about childless women. I just didn’t expect to be the first person to have updated thinking.

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20 Responses to “An Apology to Child-free Millennial Women”

  1. Susan DeWeese says:

    I missed the cut-off age by one year; I’m 65. Ouch!

    • Karen Malone Wright says:

      Thanks for your comment. With apologies for a quick ‘ouch’, the 64 age limit was only for the business plan and early research. totally welcomes NotMoms of any age. Our recent survey topped out at 70+.

  2. Dori says:

    I’ve completed the survey earlier, but I just wanted to thank you for creating this wonderful outlet!

  3. angela says:

    I’m doing the survey, but it’s kind of difficult to answer questions about Thenotmom when I’d never heard of it before today! Just a thought, there should be an option to not answer those or something – you’re probably getting a lot of new visitors because of the survey and our input on your page isn’t going to be helpful at all at this point.

    • Karen Malone Wright says:

      Thanks very much for completing the survey, and for your suggestion. Unfortunately, it’s too late to make that change now, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for the future.

  4. Sally says:

    Thank you so much for changing it! I’m definitely be taking it now, and I’m thrilled to be part of this important research!

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for updating the survey! Would you be willing to add a younger age group in? I’m 23 and know that I don’t ever want to have children, but would understand if you think the under-25 group is already adequately covered by advertisers.

    • Karen Malone Wright says:

      Thank you for your comment. Perhaps we’ll do a survey specifically for younger NotMoms in the future, but for now 25 y/o is the young end of the survey spectrum.

  6. Amy says:

    Thanks for doing the survey; looking forward to hearing the results! I shared the link with followers on my FB page,, and a couple of people commented that when they click on the survey link they get a page saying they’ve already taken the survey. Told them I’d check in with you about it. Thanks!

  7. Lori Kidwell says:

    I wondered about that too. While I’m encroaching on 40 myself, I was in my mid-20s when I decided I wasn’t likely having children, and decided before 30 that I definitely wasn’t having children.

    Those of us who are “by choice” can often make that decision very early.

    • Karen Malone Wright says:

      I appreciate your sharing. So many comments from childfree women are showing how wrong people are when they tell younger women that they’ll ‘change their minds.’

  8. Kimber says:

    Thank you for changing it! I knew as young as 21 that I didn’t want children. The idea that a woman that age is too young to make that decision (never mind that women that age decide to have children all the time) is unfortunately one of the most common negative assumptions I’ve encountered. It’s nice to be able to have our voices heard, too. And thank you for such a nice apology.

  9. Claudia says:

    FYI the survey is missing the Hispanic/Latina ethnicity

    • Karen Malone Wright says:

      OMG! What a horrible error! It’ll be corrected right away. Thanks so much for letting us know.

  10. Erin says:

    Thank you for updating the survey! I’m 33 and I shared the link to the survey with my friends but at least one of them was unable to take the original because she’s younger than 30. I let her know you changed it so hopefully she’s taken it now!

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