Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Sociological Perspectives (2016) 20pp


© Tichenor, McQuillan, Greil, Bedrous, Clark, Shreffler


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.