Contact: Vicki Glasier
Public Information Office
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.”