The :empty CSS pseudo-class represents any element that has no children. Children can be either element nodes or text (including whitespace). Comments, processing instructions, and CSS content do not affect whether an element is considered empty.

Note: In Selectors Level 4 the :empty pseudo-class was changed to act like :-moz-only-whitespace, but no browser currently supports this yet.

/* Selects any <div> that contains no content */
div:empty {
  background: lime;





<div class="box"><!-- I will be lime. --></div>
<div class="box">I will be pink.</div>
<div class="box">
	<!-- I will be pink in older browsers because of the whitespace around this comment. -->
<div class="box">
	<p><!-- I will be pink in all browsers because of the non-collapsible whitespace and elements around this comment. --></p>


.box {
  background: pink;
  height: 80px;
  width: 80px;

.box:empty {
  background: lime;


Accessibility concerns

Assistive technology such as screen readers cannot parse interactive content that is empty. All interactive content must have an accessible name, which is created by providing a text value for the interactive control's parent element (anchors, buttons, etc.). Accessible names expose the interactive control to the accessibility tree, an API that communicates information useful for assistive technologies.

The text that provides the interactive control's accessible name can be hidden using a combination of properties that remove it visually from the screen but keep it parseable by assistive technology. This is commonly used for buttons that rely solely on an icon to convey purpose.


Browser compatibilityUpdate compatibility data on GitHub

Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
:empty 1 12 1 9 9.5 3.1
Matches elements with whitespace No No No
See bug 1106296.
No No No
Android webview Chrome for Android Firefox for Android Opera for Android Safari on iOS Samsung Internet
:empty 2 18 4 10.1 3.1 1.0
Matches elements with whitespace No No No No No No

See also

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