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Delaying Motherhood

Luz Portillo, the oldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, has many plans. She is studying to be a skin care expert. She has also applied to nursing school. She works full time, too—as a nurse’s aide and doing eyelash extensions, a business she would like to grow.

But one thing she has no plans for anytime soon is a baby.

Ms. Portillo’s mother had her when she was 16. Her father has worked as a landscaper for as long as she can remember. She wants a career and more control over her life.

“I can’t get pregnant, I can’t get pregnant,” she said she tells herself. “I have to have a career and a job. If I don’t, it’s like everything my parents did goes in vain.”

For decades, delaying parenthood was the domain of upper-middle-class Americans…

But over the past decade, as more women of all social classes have prioritized education and career, delaying childbearing has become a broad pattern among American women almost everywhere.

The result has been the slowest growth of the American population since the 1930s, and a profound change in American motherhood.

SABRINA TAVERNISE, CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, QUOCTRUNG BUI and ROBERT GEBELOF, “Why American Women Everywhere Are Delaying Motherhood,” New York Times, June 16, 2021.