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Family Structure Evolving

November 10, 2000|BALTIMORE SUN

Robert Billingham, an Indiana University professor of human development who has studied families for 20 years, said the number of people who don't want to have children has been increasing since the late 1960s, at the height of the women's movement and the advent of the birth control pill. He noted that many people who are choosing not to have children today were born just as Americans started exploring the options of having fewer or no offspring.

"They . . . have been raised in a society in which children have not been as valued as they were in the past," he said. "And children growing up in society today in which the individual is primary as opposed to the family, they are going to be even less likely to have children or make the sacrifices that having children takes.

"Within 30 years, we may have 20 to 30% of couples remain childless," he added. "People with children and people without children should just accept as valid the choices that people make."

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