The purpose of this paper is to examine the trends in childlessness from 1980 to 1998 and to identify which socioeconomic groups have experienced the most significant changes. Childlessness among married couples today is no longer an uncommon situation. Compared to past decades, women are marrying and having their first birth much later in life. Among women in the childbearing years, postponement of marriage and childbearing is viewed as pathway to a good job and economic independence. The cost of raising a child, and the availability and affordability of child care have further promoted childlessness among women.
Data from the selected June fertility supplements of Current Population Survey (CPS) will be used to study the trends in childlessness among these women. The characteristics associated with childlessness will be examined using the 1998 CPS to highlight current group differences.
This paper was originally presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America(PAA), New York, NY, March 1999.
This paper reports the general results of research and analysis under taken by Census Staff. It has undergone a more limited review than official Census Bureau publications. This report is released to inform interested parties of research and to encourage discussion.
Childlessness among all women 40 to 44 years old increased from 10 percent in 1980 to 19 percent in 1998. Among ever-married women, childlessness doubled from 7 percent in 1980 to 14 percent in 1998, however, it declined among never married women from 79 percent in 1980 to 67 percent in 1998.
Among ever-married women, levels of childlessness are not different between White and Black women. However, White never-married women have childless levels more than twice as high as Black women. Regardless of marital status, Hispanic women had lower levels of childlessness than non-Hispanic women.
Regardless of marital status, women who had the highest levels of education, those engaged in managerial and professional occupations, and those who lived in families with highest family incomes, experienced the highest levels of childlessness.
Women living in the West and Northeast had the highest levels of childlessness, regardless of marital status.
Foreign-born women had lower levels of childlessness compared with Native-born women regardless of marital status.
Ever married-women born in Mexico, who represent one-half of all women born in Latin America, experienced lower levels of childlessness compared to women born in the United States.
Although there were large increases in the levels of childless among women 40 to 44 years old between 1980 and 1990, further increases were small among successive baby boom cohorts.
The proportion of White women who were childless doubled from 10 percent in 1980 to 20 percent in 1998 compared with an increase of from 11 and 17 percent for Black women for the same period.
The largest increase in childlessness occurred among women with less than Bachelor's education compared to women in other educational categories.
In general, employed women showed substantial increases in childlessness since 1980 regardless of their occupational status.
You are about to leave this web site for a destination outside of the Federal Government. You may wish to review each privacy notice since their information collection practices may differ from ours. In addition, our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products or services.
Click OK if you wish to continue to the web site, otherwise click cancel to return to our site.