Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Statistician Examines Birthrates, Postulates on Rates of Intentional Childlessness

Childless by Choice?
These statistics suggest that infertility applies to only a small proportion of the 44.6 percent of childless women aged between 15 and 44. But some of the increase in child-free women since 1976 is due to a decrease in teen birth rates. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 1976 there were 101.1 pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15-19.

By 2002 (the last year the data are available) this rate had decreased to 75.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teen women in the United States. Overall, the birth rate declined from 52.8 babies per 1,000 women in 1976 to 43 babies per 1,000 women in 2002. Could it be that in the 1970s more women had babies because they had become pregnant by accident?

A statistician takes on the recent Washington Post article on Childless By Chance or Choice. I, for one, am glad that the world of statistics is giving this subject some much-needed attention.

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