Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gender parity, female educational attainment, and fecundity in the US

Previously, the relationship between gender parity and fecundity at the national level was considered. It is possible for patterns revealed at a macro level to fail to hold up at localized levels. Black electoral tendencies provide an example of this. The blacker a state is, the more likely that state is to support Republican Presidential candidates. But in the last election, blacks were more than 20 times as likely to vote for Obama as they were to vote for McCain.

There is no apparent evidence for a countervailing trend in the relationship between gender parity and fecundity in the US relative to what is observed at the national level. To arrive at this conclusion, I turned to three items in the GSS. Each question asked of the respondents is presented, followed by a small table with the average (mean) number of children women who responded in each of the various ways have given birth to and the number of respondents for each response category (N).

In each case, the range is restricted to women 35 years and older to ensure those who have yet to complete their reproductive lives do not pollute the data. Because response rates differ based on the year(s) in which the question was asked, the percentage of respondents who choose not to answer various questions, etc, the total average number of children by question category is not the same. But we are interested in relative differences among cohorts who responded to the same questions.

- It is not good if the man stays at home and cares for the children and the woman goes out to work:

ResponseAvg kidsN
Yes to Mr. Mom2.33305
No to Mr. Mom2.69140

- Do you think of yourself as a feminist or not?

ResponseAvg kidsN
Not a femi2.39359

- Do you feel in any way discriminated against on your job because of your gender?

ResponseAvg kidsN

- Are women hurt by the traditional family structure?

ResponseAvg kidsN



Additionally, I argued that imbibing of educational romanticism results in young women in the 100-115 IQ range spending half a decade and tens of thousands of dollars sealed away from the real world during the period of their lives when they're most nubile in return for a degree that adds little real productive value to society. Consequently, those in this cognitive range who survive college end up procreating less than they otherwise would had they have foregone tertiary education.

The GSS backs up this assertion. Further restricting the sample to include only those who scored a 6, 7, or 8 on the Wordsum vocabulary test (approximating the 100-115 IQ range), the average number of children per woman for each level of educational attainment:

Edcuation levelAvg kidsN
Less than HS3.14618
HS only2.641583
Some college, no BA2.441100
Bachelor's only1.92585
Graduate education1.63201

Agnostic says the presumption that educational attainment is a causal factor in lower fertility is wrong, as the major downshift in Western fertility is traceable to the 18th Century. Educational attainment may not be causal in itself (although according to its Wikipedia article, the demographic transition is explained in part by "an increase in the status and education of women") but in the present it proxies well for whatever that true cause or causes is or are.



Statsquatch said...

College? You need to keep the smart girls from leaving high school.

Seriously though, nice analysis. Can you get the IQ of the father of their children from the GSS?

Audacious Epigone said...



No. The best the GSS provides is the father's level of education attainment.