Rybińska, Anna (2020). A Research Note on the Convergence of Childlessness Rates between Women with Secondary and Tertiary Education in the United States. European Journal of Population, 36(5)
, 827-839. PMCID: PMC7642055
A gap in childlessness rates between women with and without tertiary education in low-fertility settings has been well documented by scholars. However, in the United States, high rates of childlessness are declining for women with tertiary education. Will this current trend lead to a closing of the gap in childlessness across educational subgroups in this country? We answer this question using data from the Current Population Survey from 1976 through 2018. We present population-level trends in permanent childlessness by level of education and estimate the differences in the prevalence of childlessness across educational subgroups. Our findings indicate that the rates of childlessness for women aged 40–44 with tertiary education in the United States are the lowest they have been in over three decades and that rates of childlessness are converging among women with secondary and tertiary education. The declines in childlessness rates and the convergence in childlessness rates between women with secondary and tertiary education are observed for all of the three largest race/ethnicity sub-populations of American women: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women. This report contributes to the emerging literature on the convergence of childlessness rates across sub-populations of women with different levels of educational attainment, which questions the well-established observation that there is a positive relationship between education and childlessness.
European Journal of Population
Current Population Survey from 1976 through 2018
United States of America