Societal norms, which once almost mandated family formation, have begun to morph. The new norms are reinforced by cultural influences that tend to be concentrated in the very areas — dense urban centres — with the lowest percentages of married people and children. Today, in the high-income world and even in some developing countries, there is a shift to a new social model. Increasingly, family no longer serves as the central organising feature of society. An unprecedented number of individuals — approaching upwards of 30% in some Asian countries — are choosing to eschew child bearing altogether and, often, marriage as well. The reasons for this shift are complex, and vary significantly in different countries and cultures.
This research was undertaken to look into the causes, economic and social implications of childlessness, particularly in high income nations. The research made extensive use of both primary and secondary data, including the landmark work of Wolfgang Lutz, as well as extensive reading on the history and trajectory of the family around the world. This was conducted primarily by Joel Kotkin and Zina Klapper who also relied on extensive interviews of residents of Singapore, and arranged discussions with experts working in this field.
This publication is available for download here.
Video extracts from the "The Rise of Post-Familialism: Humanity's Future" seminar which Joel Kotkin conducted at the Civil Service College on 10 October 2012, are available for viewing here: Part 1 and Part 2.