Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Educated People Don't Have As Many Children As They Want

Razib has an interesting post up inspired by the TNR article discussing the problems of older parenting which everyone is talking about at the moment. The most interesting element in Razib's piece, to my mind, is when he does some quick original research into the fact that more educated people tend to have fewer children:
[T]he General Social Survey asks people about the ideal number of children they’d like to have, versus the actually number of children they do have (CHLDIDEL and CHILDS). To remove demographic confounds I limited the sample below to non-Hispanic white women age 45 and up between the year 2006 and 2010, and compared across educational attainment.

It struck me as very interesting that the desired number of children reported by women of different education levels was very consistent, it was only the number of children actually had that varies.

1 comment:

mandamum said...

When I was in undergrad, just about to start graduate school, I attended a "work-life" panel, and the consensus seemed to be: have kids in graduate school, or you'll have to wait to have them until you have tenure.

First, that assumes you have a co-parent (as it were) ready to have kids with you in graduate school. How likely is that?

And if you're having kids in graduate school, I'd say it's highly likely you're not having 3(!!). I had a supportive advisor, but three kids instead of one might have been less kindly regarded.

As far as having kids after reaching tenure, well, then you're running into age-fertility issues.

One successful female academic I knew (in mathematics) once told a group of us that balancing work and marriage was relatively do-able, but she had chosen not to have any children, so we couldn't ask how she managed that.

I knew another academic (male) who put his tenure-climb on hold and taught service courses while his wife nailed down her tenure, so he could be the parent-on-call for their kids. But without that level of spousal support, she may not have had that chance.