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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/HalfLife2 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CLDyst_2994.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[BadNewsIrrelevantNews "...but I just saved a bundle on playground-maintenance by switching to Combine!"]]]]-]

->''"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices."''
-->-- '''Miriam''', ''Film/ChildrenOfMen''

ChildrenAreInnocent ([[TroublingUnchildlikeBehavior Usually]].) ChildrenAreSpecial. Children [[CheerfulChild make us smile]] and [[InnocentInaccurate make us laugh]]. As adults grow older, ThinkOfTheChildren becomes a primary motivator for many things they do, because kids are how they FlingALightIntoTheFuture.

...[[DespairEventHorizon Unless that light is extinguished]].

Perhaps there was a SterilityPlague, {{Gendercide}}, or [[NiceJobBreakingItHerod Herod got a little overzealous]]; or maybe [[InvasionOfTheBabySnatchers they were all rounded up]] to [[PoweredByAForsakenChild power the phlebotinum generator]]. At any rate, life is now grey, dreary and pointless, since there's nobody to build a future for.

On the [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism idealistic end of the scale]], it can be a temporary case of mass kidnapping, requiring nothing more than a few BigDamnHeroes to get them back. But if [[HarmfulToMinors the poor things are dead]] or breeding has simply been closed off as an option, you've fallen off the cynical end straight into [[CrapsackWorld New Crapsack, Halfemptia]]. Expect a rise in {{Straw Nihilist}}s, possibly spiraling into BombThrowingAnarchists and TerroristsWithoutACause. TheFundamentalist is likely to decide this is some sort of divine retribution, and [[ActivistFundamentalistAntics will be happy to explain why]]. TheAntiNihilist may try to find some reason to go on, but he's facing a serious uphill battle.

Any resident {{Child Hater}}s will probably be pretty cheerful, though.

For the inverse of this trope, see TeenageWasteland.

'''NOTE:''' Do not confuse with HideYourChildren, where a VideoGame ''shows'' no children to prevent the player from running around murdering them. The game must explicitly spell out that all kids are dead or missing to qualify.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Anime/{{ICE}}''. All men died out, and HomosexualReproduction hasn't been invented, so the now all-female humanity is dying out, too.
* In ''LightNovel/SundayWithoutGod'', when people stopped being able to die, they also stopped being able to give birth, so with no new children being born in fifteen years the world's population has shrunk considerably. The only exceptions are twelve-year-old Ai, whose very birth is shrouded in mystery, and [[spoiler:Ulla's twin sister Celica, who was born fifteen years ago but because she was frozen in time, is still a baby.]]


[[folder: Fairy Tales ]]

* ''Literature/ThePiedPiperOfHamelin'' punishes the town for refusing to pay him by leading all their children away.


[[folder: Fan Works]]
* Whether Baravada in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' is a utopia or a dystopia is debatable, but it certainly is nearly childless. Only two children are seen by the four while they're there, and one of them is actually [[spoiler: As'taris's mother Brox, reborn as a five-year-old boy after she was murdered for her... [[ItAmusedMe unique sense of humor]]]].
** The childless problem appears to have been solved in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone'' after the G'heddi'onians replace the tirin; there are plenty of kids around. However, one of the Geddies tells the four that the Baravadans (now known as the “Natives”) are still not having children. At one point John speculates that too much magic makes people sterile, which would be why in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' magic was forbidden in Ketafa.

[[folder: Film]]
* Notably averted in the ''Franchise/MadMax'' franchise. Every film in the series has children involved. Excluding Max's daughter, children are more prominent in ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome'' and ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad''.
* In ''Film/ChildrenOfMen'', almost all of humanity has been rendered sterile, and society has collapsed into violent chaos.
* The movie ''Film/{{Daybreakers}}'' strongly implies this for most of the population, as the vampires, who compose 95% of the population, do not age or procreate. Another 4% are humans kept as stock to produce blood to feed the other 95%. The other 1% may have kids, but they are hunted down relentlessly by the vampires (who need more blood).
* ''Film/ChittyChittyBangBang'' features a {{Ruritania}} in which the ChildHater rulers have actually outlawed children. Yes, it makes no sense. It's not clear what the government does to the children, except that they're rounded up by the infamous "Child Catcher".
* In ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'', Indiana and his companions end up in an Indian village that had been raided by members of a [[ReligionOfEvil Thugee cult]] who had stolen a [[MacGuffin sacred relic]] and all the children.
* In ''Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare'', Freddy Krueger has managed to kill all the children ([[UnwittingPawn sans one]]) of Springwood, and now seeks to break out of the place to do it everywhere else.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* The 1992 novel ''Literature/ChildrenOfMen'' by P.D. James.
* ''Greybeard'', by Creator/BrianWAldiss, has a childless world caused by a SterilityPlague.[[note]]This was published decades before the somewhat similar ''Literature/ChildrenOfMen'' (see above). Hence, [[ScifiGhetto there was a certain amount of irritation in the SF fan community when P.D. James was credited with having come up with a new and original idea by literary critics]].[[/note]]
* Early in ''[[Literature/TheBelgariad Belgarath the Sorcerer]]'', Belgarath encounters a camp populated entirely by old people. They turn out to be the people who refused to follow Gorim to Ulgo, and were cursed with sterility as a result. They're just waiting to die off, and Belgarath finds the winter he spent with them very depressing.
* New World in the ''Literature/ChaosWalking'' trilogy. Due to the fact that all the women in Prentisstown are dead, there hasn't been a child there in 13 years - not since the main character Todd was born.
* In Creator/PeterSBeagle's ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'', a town has stopped having children ever since they heard a prophecy that one would bring down the king and end their prosperity. They live in dread of that day. At the end, after the old king has been brought down, the magician Schmendrick urges them to have children -- it might help.
* ''The Declaration Trilogy'' by Gemma Malley is set in a world where scientists have discovered life-extending drugs. However, a corrupt government is using the drugs to cling to power and prevent a younger generation from challenging them. Under the pretext of preventing overpopulation, strict laws have been passed, stating that no-one may reproduce unless they "Opt Out" of taking the drugs; even then, they are restricted to one child each. Any children born to parents who have not "Opted Out" (or who have "Opted Out" but already have a child) are labelled "Surpluses" and are taken away from their families to be raised in grim institutions. As very few people choose to "Opt Out", the result is a society where children, whether they were born legally or not, are greatly mistrusted.
* ''Ashes'' by Ilsa J. Bick has more of a "Teenager-less Dystopia". In this apocalyptic world, some sort of electromagnetic pulse turned most of the teens into [[ZombieApocalypse zombies]] and killed most adults. As a result, most of the survivors are the elderly or children under 12.
* In ''Literature/TheHandmaidsTale'' by Margaret Atwood, future Earth is so irradiated that most humans are sterile, and the births that do happen are usually [[UnPerson "Un-Babies"]] with severe defects. This leads to a theocracy in which the few remaining fertile women become [[SexSlave sex slaves]] for powerful men.
* Used to rare positive effect in the Erich Kästner novel ''Die Konferenz der Tiere'' ("The Animals' Conference") and the 1969 animated movie based on it[[hottip:*:incidentally the first full-length German animated film in color]], in which the animals decide that after entirely too many of the humans' peace talks and conferences have come to naught it's time for ''them'' to do something about it. After multiple appeals to reason and creative attempts at sabotage have failed to convince the stubborn humans to abolish war, the animals resort to taking the humans' (cooperative) children away from their "clearly unsuitable" parents by "abducting" them and hiding them in places where they can play safely with the animals looking after them -- and that finally does the trick.
* In ''Literature/{{A Song Of Ice And Fire}}'', the city of Asshai has no children. The reason for this is not given, but since Asshai is a place where the darkest of magics are practiced the implications are quite sinister.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', the [[spoiler: Aschen Confederation]] offered the people of the planet [[spoiler: Volia ([=P3A-194=])]] a cure for a terrible disease on their world. However, the vaccine also resulted in sterility. A once thriving world of millions was reduced to chaos and riots, and then to a peaceful but empty world, with a few thousand apathetic residents and automated machines tending farmland. An earlier episode portrayed a BadFuture in which the same race was in the process of doing this to Earth.
** In "Past and Present", [=SG1=] arrives on a world where everyone is a young adult with amnesia and, while there are pictures of older people and children, they are nowhere to be found. [[spoiler: It turns out that a [[MadScientist Mad Scientist's]] experiments with longevity caused everyone to revert to a younger age, making the elders young adults and the children nonexistent.]]
* The main driver for ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' episode "Dark Rain". In the episode, a rain of some toxin causes people to become mostly sterile, resulting in this.
* The third season of ''Series/{{Zoo}}'' deals with the world facing global sterility, as elementary schools are shut down all over the world.
* ''Series/TheHandmaidsTale'', like the novel it's based on, takes place in a theocracy that began after the birthrate went down and the babies that were born had birth defects. The show has a flashback depicting June/Offred at the hospital with her child, looking at an empty nursery. A nurse explains to June that the only babies born at that hospital either went to the ICU or died. Later, someone actually attempts to kidnap June's baby.

[[folder:Tabletop Game]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' supplement ''Heroes of Horror'' (which focuses on adding horror elements to a D&D session) has a chart of random creepy elements. One of them is "After spending some time in a village, it dawns on the heroes that there are absolutely no children."

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* At the beginning of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', the Combine have been using a [[AppliedPhlebotinum suppression field]] to arrest human reproduction for years. The empty playground pictured above has the faint, ghostly laughter of children to reinforce the creepy-factor. Blowing up their EvilTowerOfOminousness at the end of the game removes the suppression field.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' has the village of people who've been turned into PeoplePuppet {{mooks}}, and notes explain that the children were unable to survive being implanted with a PuppeteerParasite. Looking at the bonfire in the village near the start of the game reveals some very small skeletons.
* ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' has the community of Crawford, which exiles or kills anyone that is under the age of 14, requires special care (diabetes, long-term illnesses), or elderly. [[spoiler:This bit them in the ass harshly, when one woman didn't want to abort her baby and went on a rampage against the community.]] [[spoiler:By the time you arrive there, it's overrun with zombies, having clearly collapsed from within.]]
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'' continues this trend where natives are given "vaccines" to protect against a "disease", with said vaccines actually being experimental [[PuppeteerParasite Las Plagas]] and the deaths of all children, women, and most men being blamed on the alleged disease.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'''s DLC ''The Pitt'' is affected by a contagion that disfigures and sterilizes the residents, or worse, makes them go crazy or become Trogs. The only child in the area is Marie, the infant daughter of Lord Ashur, and she has an immunity to the TDC (Troglodyte Degeneration Contagion) that raises hopes for an eventual cure.
* It's not ''completely'' childless - one in a thousand survive - but this is pretty much what happened to Tuchanka in the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' games when the genophage was deployed, and the krogan culture has spent the last 1500 years spiraling below the DespairEventHorizon as a result. It's telling that one of the GoldenEnding slides for the krogan, if you cure the genophage, depicts them with children again; it is the happiest you will ever see them.
** Notably, Krogan reproduction is so fruitful that this situation is easily avoidable; even 1 in 1000 is still more than enough to allow for positive population growth. The sticking points are Krogan culture, violent as it is, and the aforementioned despair and aimlessness that has prevented most Krogan from even trying to reproduce.
** This is one of the reasons the krogan Clan Nakmor was chosen to join the [[VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda Andromeda Initiative]], as they, apparently, exhibit a measure of resistance to the genophage. Naturally, the salarians see it as a mistake to allow the krogan to uncontrollably populate the Andromeda Galaxy.
* In ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' this forms a major plotpoint and reveal at the end of the first game giving both the characters and players a major clue that something is seriously off about the Junkyard. The second game averts this trope entirely.
-->'''Lupa''':Have you ever seen a child here in the Junkyard?

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''TheEasterBunnyIsComingToTown'' features the adults-only city called Town, which oddly is ruled over by a child king and his older aunt. There's a subversion involved in that near the Town is the children-only city called Kidville.
* PlayedWith on ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''--[[HumanoidAbomination Klarion]] and his minions use magic to split the Earth into two dimensions, one containing everyone under 18 and the other with everyone older. From what we see the kid world functions surprisingly well, with teenagers doing all they can to care for unattended children. The adult world, however, breaks into riots from [[AdultFear desperate parents whose kids vanished right before their eyes]].
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad''. When Stan goes to see a doctor about a vasectomy, he finds the clinic's dream is a world without children.
-->'''Stan:''' A world without children... [[WhatAnIdiot Future generations will thank us]]!
* A variation occurs in the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode ''Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo''. In process of child-proofing everything, eventually children themselves were child-proofed and stored away until adulthood. Under the rule of Emperor Doofenschmirtz, children are not allowed any more.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-1322 SCP-1322]] is a rift to AnotherDimension whose denizens were briefly friendly to the Foundation, until the Foundation tried to help them by developing a vaccine to a widespread illness. Tragically, it had the side effect of sterilizing the population, and the furious "Last Generation" launched a LensmanArmsRace specifically to get {{Revenge}}.
* Zig-zagged in ''WebOriginal/SeventeenThousandSevenHundredSeventySix'', set 15 000 years after every sapient being spontaneously developed CompleteImmortality and [[ImmortalProcreationClause became infertile]] for unknown reasons. For the most part, people feel that LivingForeverIsNoBigDeal and pass the time in deliberate ModernStasis with hobbies like increasingly [[{{Calvinball}} bizarre variants]] of football. The infertility issue is usually carefully talked around, but one character mentions finding a modern-day mural of children and breaking down in tears.
-->'''Ten:''' It's a free play, buddy. Clock's all zeroes. It's after the end of the world.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Many [[UsefulNotes/NativeAmericans Native American]] communities became this in the late 19th and early 20th century, when their children were forcibly removed and sent to government-run residential schools under the "kill the Indian, save the man" assimilation policy. Thousands died (mainly from disease), and those who survived returned to their families scarred from abuse and stripped of their language and culture. The impact of this policy (which didn't end until the 1970s) is still felt in Native American communities to this day.
* Rural areas around the developed world can shade into this as fertility rates drop and emigration to the nearby cities occurs, leaving increasingly elderly populations behind.
** Many nations and ethnicities have seen their populations drop below replacement level reproduction and begun population declines. Some countries have encouraged or relied upon immigration to make up the difference, to varying levels of acceptance by the native born. Though mathematically the declines have terminal points, how low they will actually go is anyone's guess, since a turnaround is a simple matter of population members being willing to have more children. As an example, Japan's current rate will drop its population from 128 million in 2010 to 87 million in 2060.