Fewer Women Have Children Today

July 30, 2010 | NeW Staff

Sabrina Schaeffer, a visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Forum, reported yesterday that more and more women remain childless, according to the Pew Research Center.  

The numbers actually reveal some interesting truths.  I assumed the main explanation was career achievement and higher education.  That is true to some extent, but it does not reflect the entire story.  According to the report,

“Nearly one-in-five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s. While childlessness has risen for all racial and ethnic groups, and most education levels, it has fallen over the past decade for women with advanced degrees.”

The study explores further why the childless rate has increased.  Many of the reasons are obvious: birth control, more career options, and differing attitudes about women’s independence.  The study also finds that being childless is much more socially acceptable than it once was.  Women are also having children later in life than ever before.

Is this new report a good sign for women?  We now have the opportunity to pursue so many career options, and we have more independence than ever before.  However, do you think the changing social norms are positive or negative for women?  In the positive sense, women do not have to conform to one type of woman; we have more choices about if, when, and how we want to start families.  Alternatively, though, has there been a reversal of pressure not to have children young, or even at all, in order to make full strides in your career?    
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