More School, More Kids? The Baby Boom of Highly Educated Moms

More School, More Kids? The Baby Boom of Highly Educated Moms

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes an advanced degree ... and then comes a baby in a baby carriage.

Don't quite recognize that tune?

As it turns out, it's the remix highly educated women seem to be singing these days.


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According to recent Pew research, the percentage of women with advanced degrees without children in their mid-40s is lower than it has been in the past 20 years.

Today, about 22% of women ages 40 to 44 with a master's degree or higher are childless—down from 30% in 1994.

The same trend applies to those holding an M.D. or Ph.D. Only 20% of these women don't have children, which is a significant decrease from the 35% in the same position 21 years ago.

What's more, the average family size is growing among this educated group. Sixty percent of women who hold at least a master's degree have two or more children—up from 51% in '94.

So how do you reconcile this news with reports that suggest U.S. fertility rates are at an all-time low? That's where it gets a little complicated.

Looking at general fertility—or births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in a given year—rates are indeed at a low of 62.5. This supports what some are calling the "Baby Bust" of post-recession America.

However, the completed fertility rate—or the lifetime births per woman between the ages of 40-44—tells a different story. That number has hovered at about two births per woman since the '90s.

As for what's driving this shift, women's increasing presence in academia and business are at the center of it—a fact the Pew research points out is undoubtedly leaving them experiencing the distinct push/pull of work-life balance later in life.

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