Births have fallen dramatically since the mid-1960s. The rate of pregnancy declined by eight percent in December compared to the same month a year earlier. Women with higher educational levels have fewer children. Contraception has made it easier for women to control their fertility. Yet the number of births is still falling. This article examines the causes and implications of declining fertility. In particular, we examine why women with higher educational levels have fewer children.
Births declined by 8 percent in December compared with the same month the year before
As the U.S. economy recovers from the Great Recession, fewer Americans are having babies, according to the latest government statistics. The U.S. birth rate fell by four percent last year and by eight percent in December. In 2014, births totaled 3,605,201, the lowest number since 1979. The birthrate measures the number of babies per thousand women aged 15-44, and it has declined by almost 19 percent since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2007.
A number of factors may contribute to this decline. First, changing attitudes and gender roles could be to blame. In the Great Depression, for example, the birthrate declined sharply after the stock market crash, but quickly recovered once the economy recovered. The recent decline in birth rate began after the Great Recession in 2008 and is continuing despite a improving economy. However, the economic conditions in the United States and many other developed nations make delaying childbearing a viable option.
As the decline in birth rates continues, other advanced countries have begun to experience the same trend. Spain, Italy, France, and Belgium have reported their lowest birth rates in 20 years. A “baby bust” could put enormous strain on health care and retirement systems, and strip the economy of young workers, which tend to drive innovation. And there are other concerns. The trend is not confined to high-income countries, which have seen a decline in birth rates in the past decade.
While the data presented by the CDC is preliminary, they are generally close to final numbers. While the data for the 25 states is not yet final, the AP findings echo the projections made by the Brookings Institution, which projects a substantial decline in births this year. The decreases were most evident in Asian, American Indian, and Latina women. However, birth rates declined by less than five percent in white and black women in California.
The decline in birth rates is not a reflection of declining fertility, but rather a result of the coronavirus outbreak that has confined much of the U.S. to their homes. Couples have become more contented with Netflix and a book they’ve binge-watched. And despite the fact that birth rates are falling, there are some hopeful signs. One German woman named Frederike said she had moved in with her parents during the pandemic to care for a ailing relative. After a few months, she began to feel deeply remorse.
According to the latest data, December was the lowest month of the year for births in the U.S. since 1979. The report also found that more women are postponing having a baby due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are some good news: The number of births declined by eight percent in December compared with the same month in the year before. And while December’s figures aren’t a major cause for concern, it is a symptom of a broader decline in birth rates.
Women with higher levels of education are less likely to become mothers
While many highly educated women delay motherhood, others opt not to have children at all. Researchers from the Pew Research Center analyzed data from more than 50,000 women with master’s and doctorate degrees and found that college graduates are more likely to spend time with their kids. This trend isn’t limited to women who work long hours. High-educated women also have lower infant mortality rates.
Among non-Hispanic Asian mothers, women with a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to have a child. They make up two-thirds of non-Hispanic Asian mothers. In 2017, mothers with bachelor’s degrees or higher made up 41.7% of all births. In contrast, women with less than a high school diploma were only responsible for about 8% of births.
The relationship between educational attainment and motherhood is surprisingly complex, though. While conventional wisdom holds that first-born children shift the work-family balance more dramatically than second-born children, some qualitative empirical studies suggest that the effect is less pronounced. The negative association only appears when the coefficients are netted out by a large number of control variables. Further, women with higher levels of education may be more resilient to the demands of motherhood and more likely to adjust to a working lifestyle.
Previous studies on the motherhood penalty have estimated a single effect of motherhood for each group. The effects of motherhood on wages vary depending on parity and age at birth. However, we found that higher education increases women’s wages by 11.3%. This pattern was also consistent with earlier findings, where higher-educated women experienced a marginally smaller wage penalty. This pattern is consistent with other findings in the literature, demonstrating the need for further research on the effects of education on motherhood.
Although the difference in educational attainment is shrinking over the past two decades, the overall pattern remains: women with more education have fewer children. By the end of their childbearing years, women with a bachelor’s degree had more than three children. In contrast, mothers with only a high school diploma had fewer children than women with a master’s degree. If women with higher levels of education have more children, this trend is still evident, but at a different scale.
Women with lower levels of education are more likely to be childless than those with high school degrees. However, women with at least a Bachelor’s degree have the lowest odds of becoming mothers. Among women with a master’s degree, the odds of becoming a mother are lowered by almost 20%. That’s a significant difference. In other words, women with higher levels of education are more likely to be mothers than women with low levels of education.
Although there are still challenges to obtaining national data on the education levels of all mothers, a large portion of the study’s findings are based on data gathered from birth certificates. The National Vital Statistics System’s Natality Data File contains information on all births, and is a major source for analyzing birth trends. The old standard birth certificate did not collect information on maternal education. Nevertheless, the new standard birth certificate collects information on educational degrees. These data will help researchers better understand the underlying factors that affect women’s chances of becoming mothers.
Contraception has given women the ability to better control fertility
The use of contraception has benefited women in a variety of ways. In the past, women could only have one child, but now, they can control their fertility rate by taking a pill. The Pill was invented by Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick. They believed that female control of contraception was a precondition for women’s emancipation. With the Pill, women could delay or space out childbearing and pursue a degree.
Today, many different types of contraception are available. Hormonal birth control includes pills, implants, vaginal rings, and skin patches. The type of contraception you choose is based on a variety of factors, including your age, overall health, and your desire for children or STD prevention. Your physician will help you decide which method is best for you. The Office on Women’s Health provides an overview of the different types of birth control and their pros and cons.