A Look at Fertility and Educational Attainment

June 4, 2012



Looking at fertility of white women in America over the past 40 years, we see the development of a sharp divergence between college-educated and non-college-educated women.

In 1970, the fertility patterns of college-educated women, who represented a much smaller proportion of the overall female population, didn’t differ much from the non-college-educated.

Both groups of women had a strong preference for having their children young, before they were 30. Delaying childbearing until later in life was not common in either group. Also, illegitimacy was low for both.

Much has changed since. The group of college-educated women has expanded dramatically and a sharp disparity has developed  between the fertility of the non-college-educated, who account for more than 60 percent of all births, and the educated.

The non-college-educated woman in 2009 is more prone to delay having children until 30 than the college-educated woman was in 1970. And, among the college-educated, the desire to have children before 30, which was very strong in 1970, almost completely disappeared by 2009. Also, overall fertility has dropped greatly among both groups of women.

The high school dropout in 1970 had an illegitimacy ratio of ten percent while the esteemed college graduate had an illegitimacy ratio of only one percent; the ratio for the high school graduate was four percent. Read More »


Comments and Posts

June 4, 2012


I AM behind in posting comments and adding new posts due to the illness of a relative, a death in the family (the oldest son of my maternal grandfather, whom I wrote about here, died last week), and other matters. I hope to catch up today.