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Knocked Up and Knocked Down
Unlike some European countries whose futures are threatened by low birth rates, Americans, on average, produce just the right number of future workers, soldiers and taxpayers to keep our society humming. But here's the problem: Because the American fertility rate is an average, it obscures the fact that our country is actually more like two countries, which are now experiencing two different, serious crises. Two new studies bring the contrasting reproductive profiles of rich and poor women into sharp relief. One, from the Guttmacher Institute, shows that the rates of unplanned pregnancies and births among poor women now dwarf the fertility rates of wealthier women, and finds that the gap between the two groups has widened significantly over the past five years. The other, by the Center for Work-Life Policy, documents rates of childlessness among corporate professional women that are higher than the childlessness rates of some European countries experiencing fertility crises.