More educated women having babies, but …

Pew just published an interesting study on birth rates and family size.

Here’s one of Pew’s spotlight charts.

The data seems to support the headline …



But, there’s a more compelling takeaway …


First, let’s interpret the chart since it presents the data in a non-natural way: measuring childlessness – the percentage of women aged 40 to 44 who haven’t had any children.

Take MSs & PhDs for example (the columns to the right) …  20 years ago,.  1 in 3 “doc-women” were childless …  now, only 1 in 5 are childless.

Let’s invert the numbers: the chart says 80% of women with MD and PhD degrees now have children.

That’s about the same rate as women with “just” college degrees,

For reference: approximately 37% of women have college degrees.


Now, glance at the column on the left.

Only 7% of women with less than a high school education are childless.

That flips to 93% of women who haven’t attained a high school degree have children.

For reference: about 28% of women haven’t attained a high school degree ( the number is about 5 percentage points higher for guys).


Now compare the numbers.

80% of college educated women have children.

That pales to the 93% for women with less than a high school degree.

And, the latter group has, on average, more children.



Personal note:

My late mother only completed 6th grade.  Education wasn’t a priority in the coal mining region and when her mom had died, she had to care for her dad and siblings.

Despite those circumstances — and “inspired by the depression — my mom saw education as the route to a better life — at least economically.  So, she constantly pounded into me (sometimes literally)  the importance of education.

She certainly picked the right issue to hammer into me …



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