News Articles & Radio Programmes

University education: life as an only child
Eleanor Doughty | The Telegraph |30.08.13
Independence, an ease with herself and creativity are qualities that Eleanor writes strongly about in celebration of her upbringing as the only child as she goes to uni.
click here to read

Advice for only children: invent a sibling so you can pass for normal in group outings
Graeme Archer | The Telegraph | 26.08.13
Graeme Archer works as a statistician, and won the Orwell Prize for Political Blogging in 2011. Here he offers light hearted but cogent advice for the only child.
click here to read

Yes, I'm an only child and, no, I'm not depressed – or beastly
Audrey Gillan | | 22.08.13
Feisty response to Colin Brazier article.
click here to read

Viewpoint: Is it better for children to have siblings? Colin Brazier | BBC News Magazine | 21.08.13
Father-of-six and Sticking Up For Siblings author Colin Brazier says scare stories shouldn't detract from the benefits of children having siblings. Interesting stuff.
click here to read

The New Yorker | Alexandra Schwartz | 18.07.13
In a post about being an only child and only child protagonists in popular fiction, Alexandra draw a compassionate picture of only child experience and talents.
click here to read

The rise of the only child: Happier, higher achievers or just more lonely?
Simon Edge | The Daily Express | 28.3.13
Children with no brothers or sisters will form the majority of families within a decade, according to new stats. A look at the numbers and celebrities Davina McCall, Elton John and Maria Sharapova.
click here to read

Single Children Families
Woman's Hour
BBC Radio 4 | 06.04.09
Damon Syson, journalist and father of one, Ann Richardson, Psychotherapist specialising in working with adult onlies, Anastasia De Waal, Head of Family and Education at the think tank Civitas discuss the pros and cons of having one child, the experience of being an only and how the future might look as the number of one child families increases.
click here to listen

The One and Only
By Damon Syson | femail |27.03.09
A heavily edited article on why more parents are choosing a one child family. click here to read

Is Britain becoming a one-child nation?
By Damon Syson | Observer Magazine | 15.3.09
The number of families with a single child is growing at a faster rate than ever. In this excellent article, Damon Syson, father of one, weighs up the pros and cons of greedy breeding. click here to read

The Natural History of the Only Child
By Carl Zimmer | | 08.02.08
As people get richer, families get smaller, and scientists think it's because wealthy parents believe quality is more important that quantity. click here to read

Rise of the One and Only Child
By Lucy McDonald | Times Online | 12.01.08
Detailed article about secondary fertility and some of the problems associated with having a second child. click here to read

The Only Child Myth
By Juju Chang and Sara Holmberg | ABC News | 17.08.07
Spoiled, selfish and bratty are terms often used to describe only children, which suggest that being an only child is undesirable. Is there a grain of truth to the stereotype or is it just a myth?
click here to read

Company for an Only Child, and for Parents, Peace of Mind
Tina Kelley | The New York Times | 3/06/07
Hope Keil, 4, left, and Samantha Munk, 5, at a recent outing at a restaurant play area. Although there is a widespread perception that only children are lonely and socially awkward, it is one that research does not bear out, and the children at the play date did not seem lacking. “I have a dog,” Samantha explained. click here to read

Plays Well Together?
Financial Times | 5/05/07
Miranda Green reports on the growth of single child families. As the old stereotypes are contested by modern psychologists and researchers, and as the internet provides new opportunities to make contacts and share experiences, she asks if a new picture emerges?
click here to read

Woman's Hour
BBC Radio 4 | 30.08.06
Jenni Murray talks to Jill Pitkeathley and Ann Richardson about the challenges of being an adult only child, especially caring for elderly parents. And the BeingAnOnly Conference.
click here to listen

The Power of One
By Emma Brockes | Weekend Guardian | 22/07/06
A lively read about having and being an only child. Good contributions from children and researchers. click here to read.

The one and only
By Julian Worricker for BBCNews Magazine | 08.05.06
Presenter of Sue Ellis's Radio 4's documentary on the subject, Julian writes about his experience of being an only child and setting it in a contemporary context. He hopes that he bucks the trend and doesn't match the stereotype. click here to read.

Rise and rise of the only ones
By John-Paul Flintoff | The Sunday Times | 09.05.06
Flintoff sees Joan Baez, Dawn French and Glenda Jackson as mentors. They too are the parents of an only child. In this article he discusses the pros and cons. click here to read.

Hidden lives of the only children
By Eleanor Patrick | Times Educational Supplement | 21.04.06
Patrick reviews her experience of working with onlies as a counsellor in a Durham primary school. She thinks schools should spare a thought for youngsters without brothers and sisters. click here to read.

Woman's Hour
BBC Radio 4 | 27.03.06
Jennie Murray talks to actor Tony Robinson about caring for his elderly mother Phyllis in a moving interview, where both seem to feel the poignancy of being the only child of their parents.
click here to listen.

Only Child: A Unique Inheritance
By Ann Richardson | Therapy Today | February 2006
In the BACP counselling journal, Ann Richardson describes some common experiences of growing up as an only child and core issues presented in therapy, quoting from research and highlighting the value of peer sharing. Click here to read.

The seven ages of an only child
By Joanna Moorhead | The Saturday Guardian | 04.04.06
Only child stories from seven individuals aged 10 to 68.
click here to read

Only need not mean lonely
By Amanda Blinkhorn & Deepa Shah |
Sunday Times | 07.07.05
Features the
BeingAnOnly Conference, The Power of Being One, Author Terry Pratchett's thoughts about his own childhood and only children in fiction, and Comedienne Jenny Eclair's experience of being mother to an only. click here to read

Jeremy Vine Show
BBC Radio 2 | 10.06.05
Baroness the Rt Hon Jill Pitkeathley, Speaker at this year's conference, was Jeremy Vine's guest on his phone-in, where she introduced the theme and encouraged a lively debate on the only child experience in child and adulthood.
click here to listen

The one and only
By Amy Raphael | The Observer Review | 13.02.05
Herself an only child and mother of an only, Amy Raphael discusses her own experience of motherhood with mums, children and professionals. She also includes interviews with adult onlies between the ages of 20 and 50. And sets the whole piece in the context of the growing numbers of only children in today's society in Europe and America. A lively read. click here to read

Being an only child
By Ann Richardson | Flying Start Magazine | 09.04
In this new parenting magazine, Richardson discusses the pros and cons of having no siblings, the only child's experience of being with other children, parental worries and the importance of only children meeting and sharing their experiences. click here to read

School choice: unfair to the only child
Gunnar Pettersson | New Statesman | 6.09.04
Points up the shortcomings of the "sibling criterion" in UK schools admissions policy.
click here to read

Around the greens: being an only child has its advantages in golf
Bill Kwon | Honolulu Advertiser | 6.05.04
Considers an apparent preponderance of only children among successful golfers and asks, is there something about being an only child that makes one a better golfer? The answer seems to be ... yes.
click here to read

Siblings: is first born best?
BBC Radio 1

Growing up as an only child or eldest, middle or youngest. How does it compare? click here to read

Only the lonely (letters to the editor)
By Bernice Sorensen | Sunday Times (UK) | 22.2.04
"An area that was unexamined on the subject of population decline is the psychological impact of the increasing numbers of only children on future social policy. A great deal of emphasis has been placed on reducing the population and little on the effects of what is now popularly known as the "beanpole" family..."
click here to read

Only the lonely
By Sarah Ebner |
Guardian (UK) | 18.02.04
"Birthrates in the UK are falling, according to new figures released yesterday. Sarah Ebner on the rise of the only child." click here to read

A lonely existence (letters)
By Bernice Sorensen | Daily Telegraph (UK) | 7.2.04
" [...] An only child myself, I have been carrying out in-depth interviews with adult only children, to learn what they consider to be the impact of their experiences." (Letter originally titled, "Is it fun to be one?") click here to read (registration necessary)

Changing families as societies age
By Sarah Harper | University of Oxford: Oxford Institute of Ageing
(UK) |Research Report RR103 2003.
click here to read

Is one a lonely number?
By Caitlin Davies | Independent (UK) | 17.11.03
Parents of "only" children are often made to feel guilty if they don't provide their baby with siblings ... click here to read

Women's baby hopes cut back, study shows
By Hugh Muir | Guardian (UK) | 27.6.03
Women are waiting longer to have children and then settling for fewer babies than they intended, according to figures released yesterday. click here to read

Beanpole families sprout social change
By John Carvel | Guardian (UK) | 30.1.03
"Beanpole families" - those with fewer children and multiple generations of older people - are leading to profound social changes, government statistician warned yesterday. click here to read

Only children
BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour (UK) | 17.1.03
Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, co-author of "The Only Child: How to Survive Being One" and Ann Laybourn from Glasgow University join Martha. click here to read

Demography points to the shape of things to come
Blueprint (Oxford Uni) (UK) | Vol.3, no.6 | 6.1.03
A report published last month by the Oxford Institute of Ageing provides an insight into the future shape of families click here to read

The one and only
By Lorna V | Guardian (UK) | 28.9.02
Do children who have lived without siblings really have a different attitude to relationships once they grow up? Lorna V, and only child herself, thinks they do. click here to read

Nuclear family goes into meltdown
By John Arlidge | Observer (UK) | 5.5.02
Generations learn to link up to cope with lonely lifestyle.
click here to read

Modern women choosing to have smaller families
By John Carvel | Guardian (UK) | 17.5.02
Women in England and Wales are having fewer children than at any time since the government started keeping records of the nation's fertility in 1924. click here to read

Child poverty and large families: a research note
By Jonathan Bradshaw | University of York, Social Policy Research Unit (UK) | 14.5.02
Equity principles would surely demand that a child should not be poor because of its birth order? However in a distributional sytems determined by the labour market, high parity children are more likely to be poor. click here to read

Sole survivors
By Hadley Freeman | Guardian (UK) | 5.6.02
Only children, so received wisdom has it, are spoilt and antisocial - and now research suggests it may be true. Surely not, says Hadley Freeman. click here to read

China moves away from one-child policy
By John Gittings | Guardian (UK) | 27.7.02
China is starting to move away from its "one-child" policy and compulsory birth quotas, just when Washington has denounced it for carrying out "coercive abortion", international experts say. click here to read

Now we are one
By Alex Clark | Guardian (UK) | 18.12.02
One-child families are now commonplace. Great, says Alex Clark, perhaps we can ditch the "spoilt only child" stereotypes. click here to read

Safety in numbers
By Rosie Millard | Observer (UK)| 11.8.02
For most of us, 1.8 children is more than enough. So why are some people so keen to savage the national average? Rosie Millard makes the case for bigger families. click here to read

Are you an only child?
By Srimegani Sirisena | Daily Mirror | Young Mirror | 11.01.02
This is billed as an article for 'children only' and it's a lively and cautionary warning to other children about letting their parents stop at one child! click here to read

Two-child families best at school
BBC News (UK) | 11.6.01
Children who have one brother or sister perform better at school than only children or those from bigger families, suggest researchers. Report on Maria Iacovou's study for University of Essex Institute for Social and Economic Reseach (ISER). click here to read | Report

The one and only
By Sue Summers | Observer (UK) | 10.6.01
They are the fastest-growing family group in American, and the figures have never been higher: for many, it seems, the only child is the only way to go. click here to read

Lone stars
By Sandra Deeble | Observer (UK) | 10.6.01
Sandra Deeble talks one-on-one to four only children at different stages of their lives. click here to read

Birth order affects career interests, study shows
By Jeff Grabmeier, Ohio State University | Ohio State Research (US) | 22.2.01
Columbus, Ohio - a child's place in the family birth order may play a role in the type of occupations that will interest him or her as an adult, new research suggests. Report on study by Frederick T. Leong and Paul Hartung, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine [et al.]. Results published in "a recent issue" of Journal of Career Assessment. click here to read

Crowded houses
By Sarah Ebner | Guardian (UK) | 4.4.01
As the national birth rate shrinks ever faster, one demographic is on the up - the number of families with three children. click here to read

Family size and birth order: the impact on children's educational outcomes
By Essex University Institute for Social and Economic Research | ISER Press Information (UK) | 2001
What effect do the number of children in a family and a child's postion in the birth order have on how well children do later in school? Summary of ISER report: Family Composition and Children's Educational Outcomes. click here to read

Shrinking families: the empty nursery
Economist (UK) | 21.12.00
Growing up an only child, or with a single sibling, was once a rare experience. No more. click here to read

No more "lonely the only": parents of singletons lose the guilt as kids, society adjust
By Karen S. Peterson | USA Today (US) | 2000
Increasing numbers of families are experiencing a type of new math: one plus zero equals no guilt. They are finding that having an only child is just fine. click here to read

Just 500 Japanese. An empty Europe. The world dying out...
By Anthony Browne, Richard Reeves | Observer (UK) | 8.8.99
As fertility rates fall a "birth dearth" is spreading ... click here to read

Compiled by Carole Farmer & Ann Richardson