College-Educated Nonmarital Fertility: How College-Education Black Women are Managing the Shortage of Marriageable Men

Monday, February 10, 2014

Micere Keels

Associate Professor
University of Chicago

There continues to be a strong negative association between women’s education and nonmarital fertility, which lead family sociologist, Philip Cohen, to recently conclude that “women with more education are making the more rational decision to avoid childbearing when they’re not married.” However, has the time come where the rational decision for college-educated Black women may be to not wait for marriage, because there is a high likelihood that marriage will never come, come too late, or end in divorce too soon? Three issues are examined in this paper: (1) the spread of nonmarital fertility across women’s educational spectrum; (2) college-educated Black women’s self-reported beliefs and ideology about nonmarital fertility; and (3) the self-reported intentionality of nonmarital fertility among Black women of various educational levels.

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