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Opting for families: recent trends in the fertility of highly educated women

  • Qingyan Shang
  • Bruce Weinberg


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    After declining for many years, there are indications that fertility may be increasing among highly educated women. This paper provides a comprehensive study of recent trends in the fertility of college-graduate women. In contrast to most existing work, we find that college graduate women are indeed opting for families. Data from the Current Population Surveys and Vital Statistics Birth Data both show that fertility increases among college graduate women, especially at older ages since the mid- to late 1990s. There are also increases in fertility among less-educated women, but these are concentrated at younger ages. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 5-32

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:1:p:5-32
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    1. Heather Boushey, 2005. "Are Women Opting Out? Debunking the Myth," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2005-36, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    2. Delia Furtado & Heinrich Hock, 2010. "Low Skilled Immigration and Work-Fertility Tradeoffs among High Skilled US Natives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 224-28, May.
    3. Jane Leber Herr & Catherine Wolfram, 2009. "Work Environment and "Opt-Out" Rates at Motherhood Across High-Education Career Paths," NBER Working Papers 14717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-97, August.
    5. Mazzolari, Francesca & Ragusa, Giuseppe, 2007. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 3048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Helmut Rainer & Geethanjali Selvaretnam & David Ulph, 2011. "Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in a model of fertility choice," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 1101-1132, July.
    7. Goldin, Claudia D. & Bertrand, Marianne & Katz, Lawrence F., 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," Scholarly Articles 8810041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Antecol, Heather, 2010. "The Opt-Out Revolution: A Descriptive Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote & Ariel Dora Stern, 2008. "Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility within Developed Nations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    10. Martha J. Bailey, 2010. ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 98-129, March.
    11. Qingyan Shang & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2009. "Opting For Families: Recent Trends in the Fertility of Highly Educated Women," NBER Working Papers 15074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Patricia Cort�s & Jos� Tessada, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigration and the Labor Supply of Highly Skilled Women," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 88-123, July.
    13. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
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