Variation in Attitudes toward Being a Mother by Race/Ethnicity and Education among Women in the United States

Veronica Tichenor, Julia McQuillan, Arthur L. Greil, Andrew V. Bedrous, Amy Clark, Karina M. Shreffler

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2 Scopus citations


Do differences in experiences of motherhood (e.g., number of children, age at first child, and relationship type) by race/ethnicity and social class mean that attitudes toward motherhood also vary by social location? We examine attitudes toward being a mother among black, Hispanic, Asian, and white women of higher and lower socioeconomic status (SES, as measured by education). Results using the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (N = 4,796) indicate that, despite fertility differences, attitudes toward being a mother differ little between groups. White and Asian women have higher positive attitudes toward being a mother than black and Hispanic women. Only black women appear to distinguish between having and raising children; surprisingly, lower educated Hispanic women are less likely to think that they would be a mother, see motherhood as fulfilling, and think that it is important to have and to raise children compared with higher educated, white women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-619
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • intersectionality
  • motherhood
  • mothering
  • race/gender/class
  • reproduction

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