Sunday, January 27, 2019

Statistics and child-bearing

Interpreting statistical data is tricky. Look at this graph.


One could conclude, like the CDC does, that educated women tend to have fewer children, later in life.

Alternatively, one could say that women who have fewer children are more likely to get educated. That perhaps women who have children when they're very young are forced to drop out of school, or have significant challenges to advance through college.

I knew girls who got pregnant at 15 years old. Do you think it would be as easy for them to get a PhD as it was for me? I guarantee it was not.

Obviously it should be a woman's choice when to start having children and whether to attend college. My point is: that choice is not always available and the challenges of motherhood hinders and prevents many women from certain educational and career aspirations.

Additional statistics that the CDC report alludes to but makes for less fun graphs, is the role of income inequality on education level and childbearing. A girl born into a lower income family is more likely to get pregnant at a young age and less likely to attend college.

The truth is in the numbers, however inconvenient.