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CB11-83

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

Census Bureau Reports “Delayer Boom” as More Educated Women Have Children Later

     Women with a college degree are experiencing a “delayer boom,” giving birth at a later age than other women but still having fewer children overall by the end of their childbearing years, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

     The finding comes from a comparison of the 2000 and 2010 Fertility Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Fertility of American Women: 2010 provides a national-level perspective over the past 10 years of the lifetime fertility experience of women.

     In 2000, women 25 to 34 with at least a bachelor's degree had fewer total children and were less likely to have ever given birth compared with women who had less than a high school education. Women with less than a high school education had three times as many births as women with at least a bachelor's degree. Eighty-three percent of women 25 to 34 with less than a high school education had given birth at twice the percentage recorded by women with at least a bachelor's degree (42 percent).

     By 2010, the education level of these women — now 10 years older — made less of a difference in their total number of children than it did in 2000. Women 35 to 44 (corresponding with the 25 to 34 age group in 2000) with at least a bachelor's degree had 1.7 births, while women who had less than a high school education had 2.5 births. Eighty-eight percent of women 35 to 44 with less than a high school education had a birth compared with 76 percent of women with at least a bachelor's degree. (See graphic.) [PDF]

     For the two intermediate educational groups of women (those with a high school diploma and those with some college education), increases in both the average number of children born per 1,000 women and in the proportion ever having a child are also noted between 2000 and 2010. However, no differences between these two groups in either average number of children ever born or percentage with a child are noted for 2010.

     “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 Census Bureau demographer Kristy Krivickas. “But these women do not fully catch up to the childbearing levels of women with fewer years of schooling.”

    Other highlights:

  • Foreign-born women were more likely to have ever had a baby than were native-born women by the age of 40 to 44, at 87 percent compared with 80 percent.
  • More than half (55 percent) of women who had a child in the last year were in the labor force. Of those women, about one third (34 percent) were working full time, 14 percent were working part time, and 7 percent were unemployed.
  • Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of women with a birth in the last year reported living in households with family incomes of at least $75,000. At the other end of the income scale, about one in five (21 percent) were living in families with incomes under $20,000.
  • By age 40 to 44, white non-Hispanic women (20.6 percent) were more likely to be childless than Hispanic women (12.4 percent), black women (17.2 percent) and Asian women (15.9 percent). Black women were also more likely to be childless than Hispanic women. Asian women did not differ from black or Hispanic women.
  • Differences in childlessness by race and origin are more substantial for women who have never married. Among these women age 40 to 44, white non-Hispanic women were more likely to be childless (69.5 percent) than black women (27.8 percent) and Hispanic women (36.4 percent). No significant difference in childlessness among those who had never married was found between black and Hispanic women, or white non-Hispanic women and Asian women (65.8 percent).
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These data were collected from the Fertility Supplement to the June 2000 and 2010 Current Population Surveys. As in all surveys, these data are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the CPS data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to Attachment 16 of <http://www.census.gov/apsd/techdoc/cps/cpsjun10.pdf>.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014