Education and Children

by W. Bradford Wilcox


The new Census report on U.S. fertility shows one of the downsides to the “Blue State Model of Family Life”: namely, women who focus first on their education and career are less likely to have children than women who focus on motherhood as their core priority.

For instance, the report found that 88 percent of women without a high-school degree had a child by middle age, compared with just 76 percent of women with a college degree. On average, a woman in the former group had 2.5 births during her childbearing years, compared with 1.7 births for a woman in the latter group.

For many college-educated women, these statistics translate into real heartache, since — even today — most such women prefer to have at least two children. So it seems that the Blue State Model of Family Life doesn’t leave enough time for the bearing and rearing of children. And, regardless of what most academics might think, this amounts to a real tragedy for many highly educated women.

— W. Bradford Wilcox is President of Demographic Intelligence and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

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