what do you call a person who has chosen not to have children ?

a person who can breed but has decided not to for lifestyle or moral ethical or economical reasons

  • I don't think there is one. Well, what do you call a person who chose to have children? – NVZ Aug 19 '16 at 10:36
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    I think you call them a "person". – Hot Licks Aug 19 '16 at 11:34
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    @NVZ - "Parents". – anongoodnurse Aug 19 '16 at 12:02
  • @medica I see what you did there. :) – NVZ Aug 19 '16 at 12:05
  • Childfree is suggested in What's a good word to describe adults who are not yet parents?; whether that term can be used generically or refers to a particular subculture is not addressed. I do not think everyone who chooses not to have children accepts the label childfree, any more than every motorcyclist is a biker or every well-groomed man is a metrosexual. – choster Aug 19 '16 at 16:44

The person can be said to be childless:

COBUILD Advanced British English Dictionary
Someone who is childless has no children

However, this word is too vague to fit your request: it covers both involuntary and voluntary childlessness. As that Wikipedia article indicates, one adjective that is used to describe the latter state is child-free or childfree. I don't personally care for the term; to me it has the same "trying to force a positive connotation" vibe as "80 years young." I have no idea if many other people share my prejudices, but Wikipedia says the adjective was coined relatively recently (the late 20th century) and many publications still put it in quotation marks when they mention it (example: 5 Things ‘Childfree’ People Want You To Know–Huffington Post).

  • I wonder - are there negative connotations affiliated with the word "childless", or is there a societal stigma towards those without offspring? – Othya Aug 19 '16 at 11:23
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    @Othya: I would say both of those statements are true–the first in part because of the second. – herisson Aug 19 '16 at 11:26
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    The phrase I've heard most is childless by choice, but ngram supports your entry. – anongoodnurse Aug 19 '16 at 12:01
  • The problem is that childless and childfree can both be perceived as judgmental by those who claim the other is neutral. Of course that doesn't stop them being the right answer. – Chris H Aug 19 '16 at 16:42
  • To me, childfree can also imply that one’s children won’t influence one’s decisions- either because they just aren’t with you at the moment or maybe they’ve grown up and moved out. – Jim Aug 19 '16 at 20:24

An acronym which is entering the lexicon is "DINK" (dual income no kids), or "DINKY" (dual income no kids yet). The two alternatives mean the same in practise.

The "dual income" part means that both people have a job, so the meaning is slightly more complex than just "not having any children".

It may be that DINK is more commonly used as a noun and DINKY as an adjective, since that mirrors many other words in English that form an adjective with the addition of a "Y". Personally I have encountered the "DINKY" form more often.

It may be a little informal for your needs (you haven't specified the context in which you want to use it so I don't know).

There is no stigma attached, and may often be self-applied, eg "Since we're a DINKY couple we can, perhaps paradoxically, afford a bigger house."


  • Neither of these acronyms, which, by the way, are not words. Imply a choice not to have children. They just describe a state of affairs. – Richard Kayser Aug 25 '16 at 1:59
  • @RichardKayser good point, but acronyms are words. – Max Williams Aug 25 '16 at 7:34
  • Thanks for pointing that out. I can see now that some sources consider acronyms to be words (e.g., Merriam-Webster), but some do not. For example, Cambridge defines acronym as an abbreviation consisting of the first letters of each word in the name of something, pronounced as a word. The necessity of "pronounced as a word" implies acronyms are not words. – Richard Kayser Aug 25 '16 at 12:58
  • @RichardKayser yes, I did a little look around and it seems like the large majority of definitions say it's a word, but not all. – Max Williams Aug 25 '16 at 13:06


Anti-natalism is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth or claims that one should not reproduce.

Other philosophies that could lead one into such position: (ethical)

One can also reason that this preserves more freedom and resources for the adult (economical)

  • Anti-natalism sounds right, but the the quote doesn't support it well. Can you supply a direct reference? – Richard Kayser Aug 25 '16 at 2:04
  • @RichardKayser I've removed the quote since I cannot find a reference. Thanks for pointing out. – Sinkeat Aug 25 '16 at 8:50

As that Longman Exams Dictionary (p.241) indicates, one of the childless'meaning is "couples who delibrately remain childless".

  • That is the problem with "childless." There are many routes to it. – Richard Kayser Aug 25 '16 at 2:01

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