U.S. Census Data Shows the Vast Majority of Women With Advanced Degrees Return to Work After Having Children

According to new information from the U.S. Census Bureau, there has been an increase in labor force participation rates in the last decade among women ages 15 to 50 who gave birth within the last 12 months. This is contrary to the widespread belief, publicized in the early 2000s, that high-earning women exit the labor force, or “opt-out,” to have children.

While many women who have recently given birth do return to work, there are educational differences in labor force participation within this group. The more education a woman has, the more likely she is to return to the workforce after giving birth.

According to data from the 2017 American Community Survey, 71.2 percent of women with a graduate or professional degree who gave birth within the past year had returned to work, compared to 60.9 percent of women with a bachelor’s degree, 52 percent of women with an associate’s degree or some college experience, and 38.6 percent of women with a high school diploma or less.

These findings indicate that most women who have recently given birth are in the labor force, especially those with an advanced degree.

More information on the American Community Survey can be found here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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