Thursday, November 29, 2007

Often, parenthood comes late or never


[A] trend is being reported by the Public Policy Institute of California: With women delaying marriage and parenthood in favor of higher education and better careers, never in California's history have so many remained childless through their childbearing years.
One in four women in California are now childless in their early 40s - nearly double the rate in 1980, the highest since record-keeping began in 1870, and a significantly higher rate than for the United States overall.

And yet, never have so many Californians given birth in their 40s. With teen birth rates continuing to drop, the bulk of childbearing is moving out of the teens and 20s and into the 30s - or later. Birth rates for women in their early 40s have tripled over the past two decades, for reasons both social and economic. . . . Women pay a wage and career penalty for having children, social research shows.
. . .
"The more fuzzy part is the whole kind of cultural argument that goes along with people's statements about California - that California has more acceptance of non-norm behavior in society. And to the extent that having children is considered the norm, it might be more acceptable in California not to."
. . .
Myra Strober, a Stanford University economist who studies gender and workplace issues, said many women think their early 40s would be a good place in their careers to have children. But biology sometimes says no.

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