General Question

Aethelflaed's avatar

What percentage of adult in America are parents?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13747points) January 31st, 2012

I’ve been trying to find statistics on this for a couple days, but apparently my Google-fu abilities have forsaken me. What percentage of American adults are parents?

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6 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Is something like this what you’re looking for?

They say that as of 2000, 65% of males and 74% of females aged 18 or older had a biological child.

whitenoise's avatar


Maybe worth keeping in mind that these are the number of people that report ‘ever having had a child’. The actual definition of being a parent seems different to me.
On top, men may have had a child without their knowledge as well as a higher ability to deny that they eve fathered a child.

wundayatta's avatar

Not sure exactly what you mean by parents, but you can get more recent census data. These are data about current (actively parenting) parents:

Family households (families): 76,089,045 or 66.4% of all households are family households. Of these, 34 million or around 30% of all households have children in them.

Some family households are made up of a married couple; others have a male head of household (with no wife), a female head of household (with no husband). 55.7 million households are married couples. 22.9 million of those households have children. That’s 20% of all households. 2.3% of all households are male headed (with no female spouse) and with children. 7.4% are female head of household with no male present and with children.

You have to be careful with this. How do you define parent? Do you mean people who are currently taking primarily responsibility for the care of children under the age of 18? Do you mean someone who has ever had primarily responsibility for the care of a child under the age of 18? Do you include children over the age of 18? Do you mean people who contributed biological material to someone at some point in their lives?

When you think about it, it’s important to realize that ever person alive has a set of parents that includes both the people who provided the biological material to make them, as well as those who raised them. So maybe the question becomes how many people never reproduce, as well as how many people never parent? And do we exclude elderly people to did parent and did reproduce from the roles because they no longer have a child at home?

Are you interested in biology or are you interested in sociology? It’s kind of hard to really help until we know what you’re interested in.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@wundayatta Everyone who calls themselves a parent, including those whose child has left the nest.

wundayatta's avatar

Ok. According to the GSS, 73% of all respondents had at least one child. This is supposed to be a very well executed study and should be representative of the national population.

The question I am using is: How many children have you ever had? Please count all that
were born alive at any time (including any you had from a previous marriage). 27.2% of respondents reported having no children.

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