Child­bear­ing in­versely re­lated to ed­u­ca­tion level, study finds

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY CH­ERYL WETZSTEIN

New U.S. fer­til­ity data sug­gest that hav­ing a higher ed­u­ca­tion isn’t associated with hav­ing a big fam­ily: Women who are col­lege grad­u­ates are likely to have fewer chil­dren, if they have them at all, than their less-ed­u­cated sis­ters, the Cen­sus Bu­reau said May 9.

“Our find­ings show that a ‘de­layer boom’ is un­der way, where highly ed­u­cated women ini­tially de­lay child­bear­ing, but are more likely to have chil­dren into their 30s,” said bu­reau de­mog­ra­pher Kristy Kriv­ickas.

“But these women do not fully catch up to the child­bear­ing lev­els of women with fewer years of school­ing,” she said.

The dif­fer­ence is sig­nif­i­cant: By the time women reach the 4044 age group, those who didn’t fin­ish high school av­er­aged 2.56 births per 1,000 women, the high­est fer­til­ity. Women who fin­ished high school or had any col­lege ex-

U.S. fer­til­ity reached 2.1 births per woman in the last decade, thanks to rises among both im­mi­grant and na­tive-born women. How­ever, U.S. fer­til­ity has now slid to slightly be­low re­place­ment level.

And while women’s ed­u­ca­tion and la­bor-force par­tic­i­pa­tion are his­tor­i­cally tied to lower fer­til­ity, re­cent re­ports have sug­gested that Amer­i­cans have also post­poned hav­ing chil­dren in re­cent years be­cause of the re­ces­sion.

In 20 of 25 states where data were avail­able, the num­ber of births de­clined or lev­eled off in 2008, when per-capita in­comes, hous­ing prices and em­ploy­ment fig­ures all fell as well, Pew Re­search Cen­ter said in a 2010 re­port.

While fu­ture fer­til­ity trends are not as­sured, some peo­ple, such as W. Brad­ford Wil­cox, a so­ci­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia and pres­i­dent of De­mo­graphic In­tel­li­gence, ex­pect child­bear­ing to in­crease in

Among never-mar­ried women in their early 40s, nearly 70 per­cent of white women and 66 per­cent of Asian women were child­less. How­ever, only 36 per­cent of never-mar­ried His­panic women and 28 per­cent of never-mar­ried black women had also never given birth by their early 40s.

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