Friday, January 25th, 2008
Does Parental Age or Education Segregate your Playgroup?
A January 15th Washington Post article, Bringing Up Babies, And Defying the Norm, mentions some interesting statistics.
From 2000 to 2006 for parents aged 25- to 29-years-old in America:
- 13 percent of men and 31 percent of women with four-year college degrees have had children.
- 49 percent of men and 62 percent of women with less education have had children.
- College-educated mothers are usually about 30-years-old when they deliver their first child.
- The median age of first marriage for all people rose from 20 to 26 from 1950 to 2004.
In short, the more schooling you have, the longer you wait to make babies. And across the board, people are waiting longer to wed.
Much of the article focuses on young careerists who lament the dichotomy between their parent life and their pre-child life. Young, in this sense, apparently means anyone under 30-years-old.
Two points stood out to me. When one 28-year-old mother takes her child to daycare, she feels young enough that she could be perceived to be a babysitter.
Secondly, some parents “wonder whether it’s possible to befriend older parents.”
That got me thinking about the makeup of playgroups.
In our mommy playgroup, everyone was 30 or older, and all but one was married. Everyone had at least one college degree. The group initially formed after meeting each other at a prenatal swim class, and stuck together due to mostly common interests (no TV before age 2, herbal remedies, etc.)
In our case, that’s to be expected. Who can take a noon swim class? Moms not working or moms with a good enough job where they can take the time off. And because degrees often provide higher paying jobs, I’m not surprised a bunch of nerdy women were found in that pool.
There were 20 moms in the group, and they eventually splintered into working moms vs. full-time moms, and spending more time with individuals with whom they formed deeper friendships.
A second playgroup formed when newer parents who knew existing members of the first playgroup wanted to join, but were rejected (apparently because the group was getting too big to host in peoples’ homes). That didn’t sit well with us, so we joined that group too. The second group was filled with many elementary and high school teachers.
Meanwhile, a playgroup organized by a local city Parks and Recreation department had broader community representation (and dads, yay!). A majority of parents were 20-somethings and often college students. Nonetheless, we formed a strong friendship with a couple in their 40s when our two girls became fast friends (I’m 35 and my wife is 33). Thanks to the Washington Post, I now feel old.
There aren’t too many nannies in our neck of the woodsâ€”due to economics and culture. So again, the scope of potential friendships was influenced by the type of person who can bring their kid to a weekday playgroup.
I’m wondering…. Do playgroups usually form around a similar age or education level, or religion? Or are there other factors?