Working paper 07/165 - Abstract

Fertility and women's education in the UK: A cohort analysis (PDF, 266kB)

Anita Ratcliffe and Sarah Smith

Against a background of falling and low fertility, this paper presents an analysis of trends in fertility in the UK across cohorts born between 1935 and 1975. The decline in fertility is shown to have two distinct phases – first, a fall in third and higher-order births (affecting cohorts born 1935-45) and second, a delay in childbearing and a rise in childlessness (affecting cohorts born since 1945). The delay in childbearing and rise in childlessness cannot all be explained by the rise in female participation in higher education, rather there has been increasing polarization in fertility and employment by education.

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