Nearly all young men who currently do not have children have the desire to become a father at some point in their lives. Fully 87% of childless men ages 15-44 say they want to have a child. Still, only about 82% of those males intended to have children. The discrepancy between these two statistics points to the fact that about 6% of childless men want children but are not expecting to ever have them. This is especially evident among childless men ages 40-44. Among this group, about half (51%) report that they want children, however, some 18% are not expecting to ever have children, despite their desire to do so. Despite the strong desire to have children among childless men, only 8% of this group say people cannot be happy unless they have children. Even among fathers, only a small minority (14%) agree that children are necessary in order to be happy. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.