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Description: Childfree adults are the most common type of non-parent in the United States and are distinguished by their lack of desire to have children. Although there are many reasons one may choose not to have children, recent restrictions on reproductive health care may also contribute to this decision. For example, the United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson eliminated a long-standing constitutional protection for abortion access, which reduced patients medical autonomy and increased the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, and therefore may have led adults to decide not to have children. In this study, we use representative data on Michigan adults immediately before and after the Dobbs decision to examine changes in the prevalence of childfree adults in this population. We find that 21% of Michigan adults were childfree before the Dobbs decision, but this number rose to nearly 26% after the decision. Controlling for demographic characteristics, a Michigan adult was 32.8% more likely to be childfree after the Dobbs decision than before. We conclude that when access to safe, reproductive health care is uncertain or unavailable, non-parents may decide not to have children, leading to lower birth rates.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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