Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Census Data Reveals a Shift in Patterns of Childbearing

New York Times
May 9, 2011

College-educated women are waiting longer to have children than those without a college education, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

In 2000, the portion of women with college degrees between the ages of 25 and 34 who had children was 42 percent, according to the data. Ten years later, the same group of women, now ages 35 to 44 — representing about three million Americans — were far more likely to be mothers: About 76 percent had children, according to the data.

In contrast, women who did not finish high school were more likely to have children earlier. In 2000, about 83 percent of women ages 25 to 34 who did not have a high school diploma had children. The percentage rose to 88 percent by 2010.

The trend of educated women having children later accelerated in the 1980s, along with the rise in women’s educational attainment, said Andrew J. Cherlin, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University.

“College-educated women are following a different path to having children,” Mr. Cherlin said. “They wait until they’ve graduated from college, gotten married and started a career, before having a child.”

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