Smart Women Don’t Want Kids, Study Says

For every 15 extra IQ points, the urge to have children decreases by 25 percent.

Normally, we wouldn’t get our health news from an episode of “Chelsea Lately”, but one “news” item from Monday’s show hit a nerve. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, says in his new book “The Intelligence Paradox” that a woman’s urge to have children decreases by 25 percent for every 15 extra IQ points (higher than the UK national average).

This is scary stuff, especially if you think of a future where smart people are not having kids and these people are reproducing on the regular. But, there’s hope. Kanazawa is the same psychologist who wrote that beautiful people have more daughters, and he recently sparked Internet and media outrage when he wrote a blog post for Psychology Today called, “A Look at the Hard Truths About Human Nature.” In the post, Kanazawa argues that black women are less physically attractive than other women. This is not through opinion or survey, but through what he says is real scientific data. The blog post was removed almost immediately, but not before BuzzFeed got a hold of it and posted screenshots to the web. The hope here is that Kanazawa is only studying these types of controversial topics for publicity, which is not a great premise for scientific study.

Kanazawa seems to like stirring up controversy and his latest “findings” do just that, alleging a direct correlation between how smart a woman is and whether or not she chooses to become a mother. Specifically, his findings say that women with higher IQs are less likely (statistically) to become mothers. Some publications like the Washington Post that have analyzed the data bring up the usual suspects for examples. They cite Oprah, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, all whom don’t have children. But let’s not forget other brilliant and accomplished women that do, like Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, and so many more.

Kanazawa used data from the UK’s National Child Development Study for the report. Could he just be trolling for publicity again? Perhaps.

Pamela Smock, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center tells the Washington Post the findings are not far off:

I know this area of research and teach [the class] Women and Work to undergraduates who do not want to believe this is true. But it is.” Smock went on to explain that while women’s lives have changed substantially in recent decades, with more entering the workplace, the workplace has not changed enough accordingly. Even in workplaces with so-called family-friendly policies, “the CEOs are not leaving the office, by and large, early afternoon to see their daughter or son act in a 2nd grade play.” Many highly intelligent and highly educated women who enjoy their jobs and careers see the hours and effort required to successfully climb the ladder at the office, and ultimately determine, “something’s got to give, and for many highly successful women it is children.”

For the rebuttal, the newspaper asked Janice Crouse, a senior fellow with the conservative think tank Concerned Women for America, and she questioned the study’s methodology.

“I could list very quickly a handful of genius IQ women that I know personally — some are wonderful mothers and some are awful ones,” she said in an email. “I seriously doubt the results of this study and guess that a thorough analysis of the methodology would result in some major disclaimers.”

What do you think? Is this just a publicity stunt or is there something to it?