Women Born After Great Depression Had More Children,
THURSDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- American women born in
1935 had a higher average number of children than those born in
1910 or 1960, according to researchers who analyzed childbearing
differences among three generations of women.
Women born in 1935 had an average of three children per woman,
compared with an average of 2.4 for those born in 1910 and two for
those born in 1960, their study found.
Of the three generations, women born in 1910 were most likely to
be childless by age 50 (19.7 percent), compared with 15.6 percent
of women born in 1960 and 11.4 percent of those born in 1935, said
the researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics, part
of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Social and historical factors are a major reason for the
childbearing differences between the three generations, the
Childbearing by women born in 1910 was affected by the Great
Depression and World War II, events which caused high levels of
uncertainty about the future and a decrease in marriages linked
largely to the lack of employment opportunities for men. In
contrast, women born in 1935 began their childbearing years after
World War II, when the economy prospered and there was a jump in
the number of marriages.
Women born in 1960 had reliable methods of birth control and
increased educational and work opportunities -- factors that might
explain why they had fewer children, the researchers noted.
The analysis of data from the National Vital Statistics System
also showed that women born in 1935 were most likely to have four
or more children (37 percent), those born in 1960 were most likely
to have two children (35 percent), and those born in 1910 were
equally likely to have no, one or two children (about 22 percent
Nearly three-quarters of the women born in 1910 and 1935 had
their first child by the age of 25, compared with one-half of those
born in 1960. The average age when they had their first child was
21 for women born in 1910 and 1935 and 23 for those born in
Less than 10 percent of women born in 1910 and 1935 had their
first child after age 30, compared with nearly 20 percent of those
born in 1960.
Women born in 1935 had the lowest average age at first birth
(20.8 years), compared with 21.1 for those born in 1910 and 22.7
for those born in 1960.
Two reports on these childbearing patterns were published Aug.
11 by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
The U.S. National Institute of Health and Human Services has
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