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ERIC Number: ED559744
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May-10
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Record Share of New Mothers Are College Educated: Long-Term Trend Accelerates since Recession
Livingston, Gretchen; Cohn, D'Vera
Pew Research Center
Mothers with infant children in the U.S. today are more educated than they ever have been. In 2011, more than six-in-ten (66%) had at least some college education, while 34% had a high school diploma or less and just 14% lacked a high school diploma, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. These benchmarks reflect a decades-long rise in the educational levels of all women, as well as a decline in births that has been particularly steep among less educated women, and that has intensified since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007. Although less educated women are a shrinking share of all new mothers, less educated women still have a higher average number of births throughout their lifetime than more educated women. By the end of their childbearing years, women without a high school diploma have on average 2.5 children, and women with a bachelor's degree have about 1.7. This gap has closed only slightly over the past 25 years. Additionally, research shows that there are significant differences in the marital status as well as the age profile of new mothers depending upon their educational attainment. Experts have identified a strong linkage between child well-being and maternal education levels. On average, a mother with more education is more likely to deliver a baby at term and more likely to have a baby with a healthy birth weight. As they grow up, children with more educated mothers tend to have better cognitive skills and higher academic achievement than others. It is difficult to determine whether maternal education is causing some of these outcomes, or if it is serving as a proxy for some other causal factor (for example, economic well-being). What is irrefutable, though, is that on average the more education a woman has, the better off her children will be.
Pew Research Center. 1615 L Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-419-4500; Fax: 202-419-4505; Web site: http://pewresearch.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pew Research Center