Lab 3: What is the relationship between women’s career and giving birth?

Lab Reports, Visualization

In general, we can observe that there is an inverse correlation between income and total fertility rate within nations. This means that – the higher the education and GDP, the fewer children are born in any developed country. In less developed countries, fertility rates are higher due to the lack of access to contraceptives and generally lower levels of female education. The social structure, religious beliefs, economic prosperity and urbanization within each country are likely to affect birth rates. Developed countries tend to have a lower fertility rate due to lifestyle choices associated with economic affluence where mortality rates are low, birth control is easily accessible and children often can become an economic drain caused by housing, education cost and other cost involved in bringing up children. Couples/women are delaying starting a family which has led to a true decline in their fertility levels due to ovarian aging and related reasons leading to reduced chance of conception.

See interactive map with data from 1960 to 2018 here.

In the chart above, I’ve used ArcGIS to build the visualization of the differences between developed and less developed countries’ fertility rate. I opted for contrasting colors within the red/yellow spectrum (dark red for high rates and light yellow for low rates) to highlight the dramatic difference of rates per country.

Even with all the responsibility and costs that comes with having a baby, most women find themselves at a certain age debating whether to have child or not and if so, when. This phenomenon has commonly been called the “biological urge,” and it’s seen as part of women’s biological instinct to have children. We’re taught that it’s something that’s supposed to happen to women at some point in their lives. Sometimes women opt for single parenting, sometimes they opt for staying home while the partner provides money for the family, and sometimes they become mothers even though they are not employed (or can’t be employed because they have to look after their kids).

In the chart below we can observe the differences between the amount of households with children and no parent in the working force. There is a huge gender difference in households where a single parent is at home, unemployed, looking after the child. The parent who is unemployed is usually female. Women are more capable of putting their children in front of their careers. Even in the case of divorced couples, it is more likely that women will give up their careers to stay home with the kids while the father provides an alimony.

See interactive map here

If we look at California, for example, there are 488,854 children living with their mothers only, the mother not being in the labor force, while 75,806 children living with their father only, father not being in the labor force. The will to prioritize looking after a baby ends up creating a paradox – how is it possible to raise a kid without having an income source? How do women handle looking after their children? Do they adapt more easily than man? Get informal jobs? Regardless, women do what they have to do.

See interactive map here.