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.
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 …