A new Pew Research Center study conducted by author Gretchen Livingston analyzed the data from the US Census Bureau to reach the conclusion that US childlessness rates are falling and family sizes are growing.
The research focused on women’s educational background and its connection to motherhood. At the same time, Livingston looked at splinter categories such as race, age and education. The main key points summarized that overall motherhood likelihood is increasing with prevalence in those categories where it had been stagnating so far.
Here, the research talks about highly educated women. Until recently, the trend in this category was descending. It is safe to argue that career-personal life balance was deemed difficult. Pressures in the workplace and a burdening economic situation were as many factors influencing childlessness.
How did the situation come to change is not explained in the study. The few societal factors that are mentioned revolve around changing attitude toward women pursuing both career and motherhood.
Thus, approximately 22 percent of women falling in the age category 40 to 44 make the choice to not have a child. The percentage is down from 30 in 1994. In this category, Livingstone is talking specifically about women who graduated with at least a master’s degree or higher.
For these highly educated women, family size reportedly increased as well. Six out of ten women have two or more children. The former category presented an increase of 4 percent, while the latter an increase of 6 percent. It might be that the convergence of roles in the family is helping out these women making bold decision regarding children.
With chores and responsibilities equally divided in the household, they are more likely to have a feeling of security in what concerns a work life-personal life balance. While the surprise of the study is represented by highly educated women, it seems that childlessness across America and within the same age category is definitely declining.
The data showed that 13 percent of women without a highschool diploma have one child. 26 percent have at least four children. Highly educated women mostly choose to have one child. 8 percent of this category made a choice to have four children.
The research also suggested that race and ethnicity plays an important role in the decline or increase of childlessness. The demographic and societal factors should not be studied separately if we want the broader picture of what current trends are.
What the report has failed to detail are the societal factors that have influenced the significant shift that is happening in the category of highly-educated women.
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