How normal is the two child norm?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanOct 6, 2013 9:28 AM


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Less than even two! Image credit: Yoshi Canopus A few years ago Greg Cochran mentioned to me how he perceives the two child family to be the new bourgeois normal, enforced by the professional class and blue-haired ladies alike (this impression is informed by the fact that he has more than two children). This seems to align with my own general sense, but then again how normal is my socioeconomic milieu? So I decided to look at the General Social Survey. I limited the sample to non-Hispanics whites age 45 and over, constrained to the interval 2000-2012,* and broke the data into male and female classes. I crossed the number of children, binned 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5+, with the highest educational attainment of the individual.** In other words I limited the data set, and looked at how the number of children of individuals varied as a function of education. For males the sample sizes were ~432 with no high school degree, ~1,592 high school degree, ~226 junior college, ~618 bachelor's degree, and ~461 with graduate educations, for a total of ~3,329.*** The equivalent numbers for females were ~452, ~2,124, ~300, ~628, ~434, and ~3,939. The results below:

Nothing too surprising. It seems that non-Hispanic white women without high school educations are particularly fecund (or perhaps they don't have high school educations because of their fecundity?) * Selection Filter(s): age(45-*) year(2000-*) race(1) hispanic(1) ** Row, childs(r:0;1;2;3;4;5-*), column, degree *** The ~ is due to the fact that they're weighted N's.

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