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Expand chart
Data: Hazan and Zoabi, 2015, via a World Economic Forum article; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

More education typically leads to fewer children — but now, demographers say American women with an advanced degree are having more kids on average than those with only bachelor's degrees.

The big picture: Increased education and opportunity for women has been a key driver of globally falling fertility rates and aging populations. But in the U.S., the trend over several decades seems to be reversing itself among the most educated women, according to data from the World Economic Forum — possibly because they're in a better financial and social position to have children.

Between the lines: Because of financial barriers, economic concerns or the desire for more leisure time, most young adults in the U.S. expect to have fewer kids than they consider ideal, according to a recent survey by The New York Times and Morning Consult.

  • But women with more advanced degrees are often in a better financial and occupational position to have their ideal number of children.
"[W]omen with advanced degrees are more likely to be well-off than those with undergraduate degrees, and married to a high earner, and therefore able to afford to have more children."
— Eric Kaufmann, demographer and professor at Birkbeck College, University of London

The number of kids considered ideal tends to decrease with better educated women, according to Wolfgang Lutz, the founding director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital. But the most educated women are more able to plan and have the family size they consider ideal.

  • While this trend has been noted in other wealthy countries — particularly those with high gender equality, such as Scandinavia — it's not a universal trend. South Korea, for example, has the highest level of female education of OECD countries, but also has the lowest overall fertility rate, Richard Jackson, president of the Global Aging Institute, tells Axios.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Pentagon officials contradict Biden on Afghanistan advice

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Top military leaders confirmed in a Senate hearing Tuesday they recommended earlier this year that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and that they believed withdrawing those forces would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military.

Why it matters: Biden denied last month that his top military advisers wanted troops to remain in Afghanistan, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "No one said that to me that I can recall."

Poll: Latinas more likely to open their own businesses, despite pandemic setbacks

Janie Isidoro, owner of My Corazon, a Chicano business in downtown Hanford, Calif. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Latinas in the U.S. are more likely to own, or plan to open, their own businesses than non-Hispanic women, despite the pandemic’s disproportionate burden, a recent poll found.

Why it matters: The survey, conducted by Telemundo, the Latino Victory Foundation and Hispanics Organized for Political Equality, suggests Latinas can be a driver of growth for the U.S. even though they have faced greater COVID-19-related setbacks.

Warren opposes Fed chair Powell's renomination, calls him a "dangerous man"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during a hearing before Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 28. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) questioned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's record on financial regulation during a hearing Tuesday, calling him a "dangerous man" and saying that she would not support his renomination for a second term.

Driving the news: While the Fed chair’s term expires in early 2022, President Biden is expected to make a decision this fall on whether to reappoint Powell or nominate another candidate.

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