Written by: Kristy Krivickas, Census Bureau Demographer, HHES
Ever notice those college-educated 30–something women with infant strollers and believe that a new baby boom is under way? The Census Bureau today reported that what you have been seeing over the past decade is not a new baby boom, but rather a “delayer boom.”
Findings from the 2000 and 2010 Current Population Survey show that highly educated women initially delay childbearing, have higher fertility levels in their 30s, but do not fully catch up to childbearing levels of women with fewer years of schooling.
However, in the last 10 years, the gap in fertility had decreased between college-educated women and women with less than a high school education. In 2000, women age 25 to 34 with at least a bachelor’s degree had fewer births and were more likely to be childless compared with women who had less than a high school education.
By 2010, the differences in fertility between more and less educated women were smaller.
• In 2000, women with at least a bachelor’s degree had 1.5 fewer children than women with less than a high school degree. By 2010, when the age of 35-44, the gap decreased to 0.9 fewer children.
• Looking at childlessness among 25- to 34-year olds, there was a 42 percent difference in 2000. By 2010, among 35- to 44-year olds, there was a much smaller disparity — 12 percent.
College-educated women — as they have aged into their 30s — have increased their childbearing to a greater extent than other women, but they still are having fewer children by the end of their childbearing years.