Patt Morrison for August 4, 2010

Hold the motherhood, please: the increasing trend of childless women

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Fewer women are choosing to have children

In the 1970's, one-in-ten women opted not to have a child. Today, that number is one-in-five. There is nothing too revolutionary about the trend - more women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and most educational levels are deciding not to have children with one notable exception: women with advanced degrees. They are still in a group less likely to have children, but that trend seems to be changing. In 2008, 24% of women in their early to mid-forties were childless. In 1994, that percentage was 31%. Why are well-educated woman deciding to buck the trend and have kids? And what are the long-term demographic implications of more childless women?


D’Vera Cohn, co-author, Pew Research Center’s new report on Childlessness in America.

Gretchen Livingston, senior researcher, co-author of study on Childlessness at the Pew Research Center

Lynne Casper, professor of Sociology, University of Southern California and Director of the Southern California Population Center

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