In doing research for a book I may write about voluntary childnessness, I came across a telling graphic from the Pew Research Center. First, note that the percent of women age 40-44 without a biological child has almost doubled since the late ’70s. Today about one-in-five such women (18%) have never given birth.

The percent of women is even higher among women with professional degrees (a master’s or equivalent and higher). One-in-four women with a master’s degree, and nearly that many women with PhDs, have no biological children by ages 40-44.

Here’s where the really telling graph [on the link] comes in. Though women with higher levels of education are less likely to have biological children than other types of women, the trend of increasing childlessness shown above doesn’t apply to them. In fact, women with master’s and PhDs in the most recent data are more likely to have children than their counterparts 14 years ago. In the first half of the 1990s, nearly one-in-three women with professional degrees did not have biological children; today it’s one-in-four. Childbearing among the most educated women, then, bucks the trend. It has gone up.

[Read more: sociologicalImages]