Highly educated women are increasingly choosing to have children, a new report from the June Current Population Survey, co-authored by University at Buffalo economist Bruce A. Weinberg.
Published in the Journal of Population Economics, the report found that, at least according to early indications, fertility trends among highly educated women may be reversing. Indeed, according to the researchers' analysis, childlessness declined by roughly 5 percentage between 1998 and 2008.
Earlier studies had come to conflicting conclusions.
Data for the study came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Vital Statistics Birth Data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Growing multiple birth rates may be a factor in the results. "The data does not include information about whether women used fertility treatment," said UB assistant professor Qingyan Shang. "But we use the trends in plural birth rates to impute the share of the increase in fertility among highly educated women that is attributed to fertility treatment."
Shang added that it was unclear what the labor implications of the findins may be. "We know these women are opting for families," she said. "We don't know if they in turn are opting out of the labor market."
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