Highly educated women are choosing both career and family

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

PRINCETON, N.J. (Christian Examiner) -- Research now shows that today's highly educated women in their mid-40's are choosing motherhood more often than they did 20 years ago, demonstrating a desire to have it all -- a career and a family -- and a willingness to juggle the responsibilities of both.

According to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center, only 22 percent of women age 40 to 44 with master's degrees or higher have no children today. The number is a significant drop from 1994 when 30 percent of highly educated women were childless, or had not given birth.

The data indicated the most dramatic change in two decades took place among women with doctorate degrees. In 1994 fully 35 percent of women with a P.h.D or M.D remained childless while today that number lands at only 20 percent --  a dramatic 15 point drop which equates to a nearly 42 percent decrease.

Additionally, these educated career moms were not only more likely to have children, they are also likely to have bigger families at a time when the overall size of American families is shrinking,

Pew's analysis states that, last year, 6-in-10 women with master's degrees and above reportedly had at least two children, up from 51 percent in 1994. Specifically, over the past 20 years, the percentage of educated women with at least two children rose four percentage points (an almost 8 percent increase) while those with three or more rose six points (about a 12 percent rise).

"This trend has likely been driven by demographic and societal changes," Gretchen Livingston, analysis author writes. "It coincides with women's growing presence in managerial and leadership positions and suggests that an increasing share of professional women are confronting the inevitable push and pull of work-family balance."

Even though highly educated women deciding to have children and bigger families decreased the overall percentage of childless women in the 40 to 44 demographic, the overall average number of children among all U.S. women have in their lifetime remains at two.

The findings for Pew's report were based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's June Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a questionnaire typically administered every other year since 1976.