PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Time magazine’s 2013 cover story touted a new demographic group: the child-free, suggesting that millennials did not necessarily see having kids as very important to a successful marriage.

“Child-free” is a term tied to the late 20th century, put simply it describes people who make a personal decision not to have children.

On Monday, Pope Francis had this message for married couple: that they should be raising children and not cats and dogs — and that marriages without children “come to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.”

“As a Catholic, I kind of know where he’s coming from,” said Josh Dvorchak of South Park. “But at the same time I think if you’re married, I think it’s your choice to have children or not.”

“I think that one of the functions of marriage is to provide that stable, loving home for children,” said Helene Paharik of the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Paharik, assistant general secretary of the diocese, believes that Pope Francis is saying that loving and sharing a life with pets is beautiful, but there’s more.

“But I think he wanted to invite married couples to also be open to the joy that comes from the sacrifice of raising children,” she said.

Couples deciding to be free from child rearing are networking. There’s a “Child-Free Pittsburgh” website. You can also be known as a “DINK” — or dual income no kids.

“From the human perspective, form psychology, people should be parents if they want to be parents,” said West Penn Allegheny Health System Psychiatrist Dr. Van Nickell. “There’s some people who don’t want to be parents and I would agree with them.”

Bottom line is, according to Gallup Research, not having children remains the exception and that 90 percent of couples have children or want them.


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