The numbers are from factfinder.census.gov, and I will probably put together a different one to show number of kids, which is nearly the same, while the number of women in either category slightly favors high school dropouts due to demographic lag. In short, PhD moms have more children per woman and we also now have about as many giving birth in a given year as women who don’t finish high school.
The data brief is here.
Has some interesting info. Is a pdf, but a small one. Might do more about it later but spent half the day in the woods, so I’m pretty tired.
The latest provisional birth data is out and the results are an ongoing decline in total births at all but the oldest ages (mostly 40+, which is barely any of the total babies).
I have no idea when I can get around to it in more detail but Gen X (my “generation”) beat the spread and had more babies than their initial TFR predicted, which is pretty interesting. Also cohort analysis shows some specific cohorts within Gen X and older-Millennial are having more higher-order births (3, 4, 5th, etc) than their fellow cohort-sisters.
So on the one hand a few small groups that someone eventually should look at more closely are having more children than expected. On the other hand, the big-picture of fertility is ongoing declines in baby-having at every stage of fertile-life.
So what is this ongoing decline in new life worth? What is it worth to the ever-shrinking pool of married parents? And what’s making a handful of people double down and have marginal additional children at all?
This was a draft I started a while back and you can see why it never got finished, lol. The washing machine is ok, though! And the kitchen is shard-free! We stopped buying jam (and pb) entirely and switched to deli meat.
Not only is there an actual (but mild) storm meaning our planned outdoor time was reduced to about 15 minutes, but this has been my day so far:
- One child dropped a glass jar of jam on the floor
- At the same time I found out one of the laundry loads was covered in yellow paper which turned out to be cardboard from a lightbulb package (lightbulb did not make it into the machine though).
- So I went back and forth shaking out every single piece of clothing and then cleaning up the whole thing between closing the kitchen door and getting up the shards and jam.
One of the kids thought it would be a great idea to dump oats into the sugar jar since I said they could have a little sugar with their oatmeal. Then there were tears since it came up mostly sugar.
I thought I would have to toss it all, but then I remembered something I used to see my own sainted mother do when baking, which was use a sifter. I didn’t have to use a sifter, I just shook the sugar-oats out with a regular strainer into a mixing bowl. The oats were greatly reduced in sugar content and had maybe 1tsp a serving, while the sugar just had some oat powder left behind. Breakfast was salvaged for another few days (my children eat like the war horses at the local stable) and now I have a new kitchen task to train them on.
But the sugar jar is no longer in kid-reach.
The story of the transformation of the”housewife” into the “stay at home mother” providing “mother-care, not DAYCARE” in American society in the wake of the Pill and Roe v. Wade is an interesting one and there’s not much information on the internet about it because the idea that there was a transition (and that this transition destroyed a substantial amount of soft power among married women) is not compatible with either right wing or left wing narratives about the topic.
We didn’t really have the term before motherhood could be conceivably viewed as entirely intentional/optional, even within marriage. And nobody seems to ask why it bloomed so suddenly and took over, when by its nature it explicitly separates motherhood from marriage, while housewife emphasizes, well, property benefits of marriage for women foremost. Homemaker, it’s worth noting, has begun to turn up as a transition away from stay at home mother, but it lacks that wilful connecting of property with marriage and in fact shifts the domestic world to something a woman must make/build, rather than something she is inherently part of and maintaining/managing.
Since this is just thinky thoughts, I will close with the little data point that over half of American SAHMs use center-based daycare for children aged 0-4 and that we hit that point about 10 years ago and this is in every region of the country, not concentrated in one place, it’s about half everywhere. Employed or not, it’s 80% for BA or higher-possessing mothers.
Some quick tidbits about twin birth because it’s yet another factor in the current birth trends and relative robustness of fertility in college moms.
- Twin birth was around 10 per thousand births for white women and 12 per thousand for black women in 1940 and this was relatively unchanged through 1960. The relatively higher number for black women appears to be almost entirely from black women getting pregnant a lot more often.
- Current twin births are more than triple those rates of a mere half-century ago. But the “twin gap” has shrunk, with non-Hispanic whites at around 36 per thousand births and non-Hispanic blacks around 39 per thousand births. This kind of puts a pin in the notion that it’s substantially genetic in black women. Maybe, but the rapid changes and closing of the gap suggest environmental factors are the major driver.
- As recently as 1985, the total twin rate for all races was around 20 per thousand births.
- Twin births among (white, non-Hispanic) college moms are typically above the national average of around 3%. They are more like 4-5% in many states, with a lot of it happening in regions where I found third children to be born above the national baseline for third births.
- Twin births these days are more likely to be second births than first. I don’t know if that would be the case pre-birth control and pre-ART, it’s hard to find birth order data because live twins were so much rarer until quite recently.