3. Education Attainment for Women Age 16 and Over with Young Children
A mother’s educational level plays a key role in her child’s future achievement. National research has consistently shown a strong relationship between maternal education level and child well-being, including social-emotional development and academic performance. Studies also show that when a mother increases her educational level, it has a positive effect on her children. Higher maternal education levels bring higher earnings and increases family well-being. Less educated mothers are more likely to struggle meeting their family’s basic needs, leading to fewer resources and increased family stress.
What Can the Data Tell Us?
Reviewing the U.S. Census data on the percentage of women who are graduating with a high school diploma and those who have higher levels of education helps in understanding how young children and their families are doing. National data (Table 7) shows 12.4% of mothers with young children have less than a high school diploma and 21.7% have only a high school diploma. Combined, 34.1% of all mothers with young children have a high school diploma or less. This means that young children in these households are more likely to have additional barriers that negatively impact their healthy development. Understanding the data helps to identify opportunities to target resources that support mothers with young children to pursue higher education.