Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Women with advanced degrees have highest birth rate – CT Post


Christi Orlowski always knew she wanted to be a mother. And she always knew she wanted to go into psychology. It was figuring out how to do both that took some managing.

Because the options in her field of choice were limited for someone with only a bachelor’s degree, Orlowski, now 37, of Oxford, pursued her doctorate from the University of Hartford.

But, she reasoned, she couldn’t do that and try to start to a family. Also, having a job that required an advanced degree would better allow her to help support her family, once she started one.


So she made what was, for her, the obvious decision.

“I focused on (education),” Orlowski said. “I always knew I wanted to have kids, but I had to put that on the back burner.”

More Information

Educated mamas

Here are the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau statistics on the education level of women who had given birth within the past year.

National

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 6.3

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 5.3

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 5

Women with high school degree: 5.6

Women with less than a high school degree: 3.9

Connecticut

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 5.9

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 4.1

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4

Women with high school degree: 4.2

Women with less than a high school degree: 2.4

Fairfield County

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 6.5

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 5.5

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4.2

Women with high school degree: 3.9

Women with less than a high school degree: 2.8

New Haven County

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 4.7

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 2.6

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4

Women with high school degree: 4.4

Women with less than a high school degree: 3.9

Educated mamas

Here are the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau statistics on the education level of women who had given birth within the past year.

National

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 6.3

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 5.3

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 5

Women with high school degree: 5.6

Women with less than a high school degree: 3.9

Connecticut

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 5.9

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 4.1

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4

Women with high school degree: 4.2

Women with less than a high school degree: 2.4

Fairfield County

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 6.5

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 5.5

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4.2

Women with high school degree: 3.9

Women with less than a high school degree: 2.8

New Haven County

Percent who had given birth in the past year

Women with graduate or professional degrees: 4.7

Women with bachelor’s degrees: 2.6

Women with some college or associate’s degree: 4

Women with high school degree: 4.4

Women with less than a high school degree: 3.9

She isn’t alone. According to U.S. Census data from 2015, the birth rate among women with advanced degrees was significantly higher than it was for women at all other levels of education.

Degrees before babies

The Census numbers showed that, in 2015, 468,748 women with a graduate or professional degree had given birth within the past year, representing 6.3 percent of all women at that level of education, or a rate of 63 births for every 1,000 women with advanced degrees.

By comparison, 5.3 percent of women with a bachelor degree had given birth within the past year, as had 5 percent of those with some college education, 5.6 percent of those with only a high school education and 3.9 percent of those with less than a high school education.

To Orlowski, the numbers are mildly surprising, but they make sense, given the choices she’s made about her own life.

She eventually became a mom at age 33, and now has three children, a boy and twin girls. She also works part time as a psychologist at a skilled nursing facility.

“You would think that it would be one or the other, that you’d have the career or the family,” she said. “But, as women, we still want to have it all.”

The Census numbers about birth and education remained consistent in Connecticut, and in Fairfield and New Haven County as well.

In Connecticut, 5.9 percent of women with graduate or professional degrees had given birth in the past year, compared with 4.1 percent of women with bachelor’s degrees, 4 percent of women with some college, 4.2 percent of those with a high school degree and 2.4 percent of those with less than a high school degree.

Women with the highest level of education in New Haven and Fairfield County also had the highest birth rates, though it’s worth noting that, in New Haven County, women with bachelor’s degrees had the lowest birth rate.

The Census numbers shows that women with graduate degrees have had the highest birth rates for some time — but the gap between them and women at other levels of education has widened. In 2005, 6.5 percent of women with advanced degrees reported giving birth within the past year, but women with bachelor’s degrees were a close second, as 6.2 percent of them were new mothers, as were 5.2 percent of those with some college, 5.9 percent of high school graduates and 5.6 percent of those with less than a high school education.

Willing to wait

The figures were somewhat surprising to Lauren Sardi, associate professor of sociology at Quinnipiac University. Sardi said she would have assumed that birth rates were higher among those with less education, but the more she thought about it, the more the Census numbers made sense.

“That could show that women are postponing motherhood,” Sardi said.

Indeed, the Census figures show that women over 35 have made up a growing percentage of new moms over the past 10 years.

In 2005, women 35 to 50 made up 19 percent of those who had given birth in the past year. In 2010, they made up 20 percent of new mothers and, by 2015, 21.3 percent of those who had given birth in the past year were aged 35 to 50.

That reflects what Dr. Caroline Stella, medical director of perinatology at Greenwich Hospital, sees among the clientele she serves.

Increasingly, she said, she’s helped women get pregnant into their 50s, so it didn’t shock her that women with advanced degrees have a higher birth rate than women without them.

“A lot of women who get their master’s degrees don’t get pregnant until after 35,” she said.

Orlowski, meanwhile, finished her degree at 28, and didn’t start her family until five years later. It’s turned out to be the right decision for her personally and professionally. For her — and, she said, for most people — education is the key to professional success.

“College is the new high school,” she said. “People expect you to go to college.”

For many women, herself included, delaying child-rearing to pursue an advanced degree was less a choice than a professional necessity. “Not only are women wanting to pursue an education, they need to,” she said.



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