Wednesday, July 09, 2014

16% of Women Are Childless

How many women never have children? Sixteen percent, according to the latest analysis by the Census Bureau, which uses data on the childbearing experience of women aged 40 to 50 to measure what demographers call "completed fertility." By the 40-to-50 age group, most women who will have children have already done so.

Childlessness varies by demographic characteristic. Hispanics, for example, are less likely to be childless than other race and Hispanic origin groups. Only 13 percent of Hispanic women aged 40 to 50 are childless versus 17 percent of non-Hispanic whites. The biggest difference is by educational attainment. Among women aged 40 to 50 with a graduate degree, 23 percent are childless—nearly double the 12 percent childless among their counterparts without a high school diploma.

Since 2000, childlessness has increased among women under age 30. Behind the increase is greater college enrollment and the Great Recession, both of which have caused young adults to delay childbearing. In contrast, women aged 35 to 44 were less likely to be childless in 2012 than their counterparts in 2000.

Percent of women who were childless in 2012 (and in 2000)
Aged 15 to 19: 94.9% (90.5%)
Aged 20 to 24: 71.4% (63.6%)
Aged 25 to 29: 49.4% (44.2%)
Aged 30 to 34: 28.2% (28.1%)
Aged 35 to 39: 17.2% (20.1%)
Aged 40 to 44: 15.1% (19.0%)
Aged 45 to 50: 16.8% (not available)

Source: Census Bureau, Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012

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