Where Are All The Mothers?

There has been a change in women over the last three decades.  Mostly good and some bad, as I'm sure some would argue; but one of the biggest changes is in the motherhood department.  Or should I say the lack of motherhood. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau report. "American Community Survey 2006 and 2006 Population Survey," today's, U.S. women are having fewer babies, and more women are choosing to be childless.

The data is from the Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey.  The surveys aimed to discover how many children are being born, to whom, and what the fertility rates are around the country.  Women aged 15 to 50 were surveyed about fertility between 2005 and 2006.

Although I didn't have my son until I was 38, these findings were astounding to me.

The report finds 20% of women today aged 40 to 44 have no children. That percentage is double what it was 30 years ago.

Here are more statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau report

  • The average number of children a woman aged 40-44 will have is 1.9
  • 67% of women who recently gave birth worked outside the home.
  • 36% of women who reported giving birth for the survey were never married separated, divorced or widowed.
  • Mothers in North Carolina, Mississippi and the District of Columbia were the lease likely to have never married.
  • Of those 1.5 million mothers who were not married, 190,000 of them were living with an unmarried partner.

The Face of Poverty

  • 25% of women aged 15-50 who'd recently given birth were living below the national poverty level.
  • Fertility rates were twice as high for those living below the national poverty level when compared to those living more than 200% above the poverty rate.

International Moms

  • 20% of all births reported in the survey were to U.S. moms that were themselves born in another country.
  • In California, that percentage doubled, with 41% of moms being foreign-born.

So Who is Having the Most Children?

  • Hispanic women average the most children at 2.3.  That's higher than for Asians, non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans, although second-generation Hispanic women have fewer babies than their mothers did.

Most Delays in Having Babies are for School

  • Women with a bachelor's degree or more college education had the highest fertility rates between the ages of 30 and 34 (133 births per 1,000 women).
  • Women who did not complete high school had the most birth rates between the ages of 20 and 24 and 25 to 29 (199 births per 1,000 women and 146 births per 1,000 women, respectively).

It is interesting to see that not only are women having children later in life, but either opting to not have children at all – or by waiting to finish school and start careers, they have missed their window of fertility altogether.

Whatever their reasons…more and more women are foregoing motherhood altogether.  If you have an opinion about these statistics, we would love to hear them.  Hope to hear from you!

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau report. "American Community Survey 2006 and 2006 Population Survey." News release, U.S. Census Bureau.