Fertility Rise Among Older, College Educated Women—U.S.
According to a report from Demographic Intelligence the total fertility rate (TFR) and the number of births in the United States (US) is set to rise significantly in 2012, mainly among older (30 plus) and college educated women.
Since the onset of the Great Recession of 2007 Americans had experienced a baby bust as more families sought to postpone having children until more favorable economic conditions were in the forecast. Director of research at Demographic Intelligence (DI), Samuel Sturgeon stated that “Childbearing is partly an economic decision and clearly many couples felt like they could not afford an additional child.”
The outlook for 2012 is still not promising; however, families are no longer waiting for the right economic climate to start having children. The DI report projects that within this year the US will register more than 4 million births.
Sturgeon gave reasons why this fertility trend is on the rise, emphasizing two critical socio-cultural posits that stands to counter any economic fall-out, due to their inelastic nature. One (1) is the fact that American women in their prime childbearing age is on the rise and (2) these childbearing women represent the majority of families who believe in pronatalism, which supports the view that having two or more children is ideal.
Another interesting fact from the DI report is the allusion that this fastest growing group of older and college educated women fall largely among white women. For the first time in many years, Hispanic births are falling, and are expected to continue falling as the wave of recession of 2007 continues. Latin American births dropped from a high of 24.6 percent in 2007 to a low of 23.4 percent for 2012.
Bradford Wilcox, President of DI and professor of sociology at the University of Virginia analyzed the disparity showing up in the statistics, stating “More educated affluent Americans are less likely to have their family decisions—including childbearing—affected by what is happening to the larger economy.” White affluent and educated women presumably have more opportunities to pursue tertiary level education and more flexibility in the choices they make, including when to start a family, despite a global recession.
Demographic Intelligence, LLC is the world’s leading demographer and premier provider of US birth forecast and fertility analytics for the economic benefit of business communities.