The Latest Childless Data from the U.S. Census

The U.S. Census released a new report this month, “Fertility of American Women.” It used data collected from American women in 2008. 

It looks at fertility patterns from a number of different angles, but I want to start with data on women with no children.  I’ll do a Part II with interesting data highlights on women with children.

But first, the latest on childless stats:

The report put out by Pew Research Center used the raw data collected by the Census, so it is not surprising that the Census and Pew report that of women 40-44 age range, 18% did not have children.

In the same age range, childless figures broken down by race include:

  • 18% of White* women are childless
  • 18% of Black women are childless
  • 13% of Asian women are childless
  • 19% of Hispanic women are childless

*I am using the Census report racial terminology

Black and Hispanic figures are up since previous Census figures.

Ages 40-44, broken down by education:

  • 15% of women who did not graduate high school are childless
  • 15% with a high school education are childless
  • 22% with a bachelor’s degree are childless
  • 22% with graduate/professional degrees are childless

The trend for more women with higher educations to be childless seems to stand.

Interesting annual family income data—same age range:

  • 20% of women in the $20,000-29,999 annual family income range are childless
  • 20% of women in the $30,000-49,999 annual family income range are childless
  • 18% of women in the $50,000-74,999 annual family income range are childless
  • 17% of women in the $75,000-99,999 annual family income range are childless
  • 14% of women in the $100,000+ annual family income range are childless

These figures tend to debunk still commonly held notion that those without children have higher incomes, thus  more discretionary spending. In researching Families of Two to today, I just don’t see it. People without children come from all walks of life, occupations and income levels.

Last, regarding location, same age range:

  • 18% of childless women live in the northeastern part of the U.S.
  • 17% live in the midwest
  • 17% live in the south
  • 19% live in the west

These data tend to suggest that unlike data ten years ago that suggested childless women lived on the coasts, about as many childless women live in every major region of the U.S.

Like with other U.S. Census data, it is worth noting that this report does not track the choice factor, so we can’t be sure that all of those who are childless do not have children by choice.  But the Census has indicated that looking at ages 40-44 tends to reflect the choice factor, as if women wanted them they would have had them by that age. 

However, it is worth noting that the Pew report also indicated an uptick on in women in their 40s having children. The National Survey of Family Growth does track “voluntary” and “involuntary” childlessness, and is due to have some recent data come out in 2011.

Part II to come...

Laura

Families of Two

also on http://lauracarroll.com

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