Intelligent women less likely to have children, study claims

Intelligent women less likely to have children, study claims

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SALT LAKE CITY — A researcher claims the more intelligent a woman is, the less likely she is to want children.

Satoshi Kanazawa, the controversial researcher based at the London School of Economics, looked at data from the United Kingdom’s National Child Development Study and found that all other factors in the study aside, a woman’s IQ correlated with her decision to have children. He published his findings, which were not peer reviewed, in his book “The Intelligence Paradox.”

According to Kanazawa’s findings, a 15 IQ-point increase is associated with a 25 percent decrease in a woman’s desire for children. But while they may be more intelligent, Kanazawa said, they suffer biologically.

“If any value is deeply evolutionarily familiar, it is reproductive success. If any value is truly unnatural, if there is one thing that humans (and all other species in nature) are decisively not designed for, it is voluntary childlessness,” he wrote in his book. “All living organisms in nature, including humans, are evolutionarily designed to reproduce. Reproductive success is the ultimate end of all biological existence.”


Birth rates are lowering across America, most of all among educated women. A 2010 Pew Research study found 24 percent of 40- to 44-year-old women with a master’s, doctoral or professional degree never had children. In 1994, 31 percent of that same demographic did not have children.

In the US, some point to the rigidity of the current workplace and its expectations for success as a deterrent for working women who want children.

“No one ever mentions the selflessness of women who choose not to have a baby, not because they wouldn't love one, but because they don't feel they are in a position to provide that baby with the kind of life it deserves,” Sadhbh Walshe wrote in a column for The Guardian.

Others, like women’s issues scholar Linda Hirshman, pointed to the difficulty of finding a “worthwhile partner” after accomplishing so much.

“I think the story is a much bigger story than a bunch of brainy women sitting around in earth shoes with their legs crossed,” she told the Washington Post. “The easy answer is if you’re smart you don’t want to have children but I’m not sure that’s the right interpretation of this data. But he isn’t controlling for another factor which is if you’re really smart and accomplished you have a tough time finding a worthwhile partner.”

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof


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