American couples see children as less important to a successful marriage than sharing the household chores or having a good sex life, according to a new national survey.
Only 41 per cent of adults said children were "very important" compared with 65 per cent in 1990. By contrast, the importance attached to sharing chores rose by a similarly high percentage over the same period of time.
Academics have attributed the findings by the Pew Research Centre to the increasing emphasis placed upon personal satisfaction within US society, as well as a growing recognition of the stress involved in raising children.
The findings also underscore a growth in unmarried cohabitation across America, where more than a third of babies are now born out of wedlock.