Yale University Study Looks at Fertility Rates of College-Educated Women From Generation X

A new study authored by Emma Zang, an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University, examines shifts in fertility behaviors among Generation X women in the United States — those born between 1965-1982 — compared to their Baby Boomer counterparts, and explores whether the fertility of college-educated women is increasing more quickly across cohorts in Generation X than the fertility of their less-educated counterparts.

The study shows that total fertility rates increased across all educational groups in Generation X women — with the greatest increase seen in college-educated women. Dr. Zhang found that the increase in fertility rates for college-educated women is primarily driven by a larger proportion of those with two children who go on to have a third child.

“College-educated women tend to postpone their first births, but space higher-order births closer together,” Dr. Zang explains, “whereas those without a college degree, who generally have an earlier first birth, allow more time between pregnancies.”

Dr. Zang holds a master’s degree in social science from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She earned a second master’s degree in economics and a Ph.D. in public policy from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

The study, “Women’s Educational Attainment and Fertility Among Generation X in the United States,” was published on the website of the journal Population Studies. It may be accessed here.

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