Mothers with infant children1 in the U.S. today are more educated than they ever have been. In 2011, more than six-in-ten (66%) had at least some college education, while 34% had a high school diploma or less and just 14% lacked a high school diploma, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
These benchmarks reflect a decades-long rise in the educational levels of all women, as well as a decline in births that has been particularly steep among less educated women, and that has intensified since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007.2
From 2008 to 2011, the number of new mothers with less than a high school diploma declined 17%, and the number with only a high school diploma went down 15%. By contrast, the number of new mothers with some college education fell by 6%, and the number with a bachelor’s degree or more fell by just 1%.