While I was out of town enjoying a little summer fun, I missed an interesting new report put out by the Pew Research Center that more women are not having children.

According to Pew:

Nearly one-in-five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s. While childlessness has risen for all racial and ethnic groups, and most education levels, it has fallen over the past decade for women with advanced degrees.

The most educated women still are among the most likely never to have had a child. But in a notable exception to the overall rising trend, in 2008, 24% of women ages 40-44 with a master’s, doctoral or professional degree had not had children, a decline from 31% in 1994.

By race and ethnic group, white women are most likely not to have borne a child. But over the past decade, childless rates have risen more rapidly for black, Hispanic and Asian women, so the racial gap has narrowed. By marital status, women who have never married are most likely to be childless, but their rates have declined over the past decade, while the rate of childlessness has risen for the so-called ever-married — those who are married or were at one time.

Clearly economic independence, career opportunities, and birth control are all potential explanations for the dramatic 80 percent increase in childlessness since 1970.  Also, more and more women are putting off marriage and children as they pursue career opportunities. (See what Mika Brzezinski has to say about that here.) Pew also suggests that “social pressure” to have children has declined and that more often having children is viewed as a “choice” rather than a responsibility.