Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fertility among educated, never-married white women

In the recent post on the fertility of never-married women, Audacious Epigone suggested I look at trends over time. I calculated the mean number of offspring for white women ages 40 to 59 who completed at least 16 years of education:


Mean number of offspring

Fifties .00
Sixties .00
Seventies .00
Eighties .14
Nineties .16
Aughts .14
This decade .18

From the 50s through the 70s, educated, never-married white women had no children. Since that time, perhaps one out of six has a single child. The trend suggests that if all educated white women never got married, the numbers of educated white Americans would dwindle rapidly.

This graph shows trends in marital status among educated white women:




Singlehood among educated white women has been increasing for several decades but is still short of twenty percent.

3 comments:

Ted Walther said...

I believe they had babies back then too. As social pressure eased, they stopped concealing them and adopting them out. Lots of women had children out of wedlock. When is the last time you heard of an "orphanage"? That peculiar institution isn't needed anymore.

JayMan said...

Ted, you raise an excellent point.

I will also add that I don't expect marriage rates to decline much more than they have. The loosening of social taboos may have led more educated women to not marry, but the vast majority of women in this group are marriage-minded and this will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

Okay, never married, but they could still have a significant other with whom they live.