"It is difficult to determine whether maternal education is causing some of these outcomes, or if it is serving as a proxy for some other causal factor (for example, economic well-being). What is irrefutable, though, is that on average the more education a woman has, the better off her children will be," the report states.
The caveat to that element is that on the extreme end, older women tend to have higher health risks during late pregnancies, Livingston said.
And while overall, women are having fewer babies since the recession started, the exception is women in their 40s, whose biological clocks leave fewer options to delay a pregnancy until the economy rebounds. Since 2008, birth rates are up 9 percent for women ages 40 to 44, according to the study.
"This short-term trend may be due to the fact that younger, less educated women have been particularly hard hit by the recession, and thus have delayed childbearing, the report states. "Or, it may be the case that younger women know that they have the time to 'make-up' childbearing when their prospects improve in the future, while the typical 40-year-old does not have that opportunity."