People Having Fewer Children – Implications for Education

The Census Bureau has reported that the percentage of American households with children under 18 living at home last year hit the lowest point — 46% — in half a century.

The trend reflects the aging of the Baby Boom generation and younger women having fewer children.

Few Americans live outside state where they were born.

In 2008, about 35.7 million families (46%) had children under 18 at home, down from 52% in 1950. The percentage peaked in 1963, when about 57% of families had children under 18 at home.

The data also show that about 67 million opposite-sex couples lived together in 2008; roughly one in 10 (6.8 million) were not married.

He adds that the economy will continue to affect family size: When cash-strapped workers have fewer dollars to feed another mouth, couples are likely to have fewer children, or none.

•There about 5.3 million “stay-at-home” mothers and 140,000 such fathers.

•The median age at first marriage was 27.4 years for men and 25.6 for women.

•Fewer women in their mid- to early 40s had children in 2008 (20%), up from 10% in 1976.

•The percentage of children with two parents at home varies: 85% of Asian children have two parents at home vs. 78% of white, 70% of Hispanic and 38% of black children.

The data come from the Census’ most recent Current Population Survey. It was conducted early last year with responses from about 100,000 American addresses.

A shift in family demographics could spell changes in local politics: Childless couples could be less willing to fund schools, for example, than other public needs. In addition with the population aging, many seniors do not support property tax increases to finance schools and school building.

I believe that it is imperative that school and school union leaders reach out to the community – businesses, chambers of commerce, policy makers and seniors to finance education. Obviously, it is not only the children (who will fund future community and senior services) who are at stake but the future of educators all over the nation.