Closing The Gap

Building a career is more of a priority than having kids, say single American women

Ezra Bailey | Taxi | Getty Images

Family or career? Four times more single American women are prioritizing building a professional career than having kids, according to a new study conducted by creative marketing agency Hill Holliday and its market research company Origin.

The study, "Reaching the Modern Independent Woman," included a quantitative survey fielded from single men (with no children and never married), single women (with no children and never married) and married women, as well as qualitative focus groups comprised of similar demographics. It’s based on the views of 1,217 respondents between the ages of 30 and 45.

For single women, the top three priorities, in fact, had nothing to do with marriage or family.

Forty-four percent of single women respondents ranked "living on your own" as their No. 1 priority, 34 percent ranked establishing a career as their top priority and 27 percent ranked financial security as most important.

For single women, getting married was the No. 1 priority for only 20 percent of survey respondents, followed by 12 percent who said getting promoted at work and 10 percent who said moving to a new state and/or country.

Only 8 percent of women ranked having children as their top priority, followed by 8 percent who said buying their dream car was most important, 8 percent who ranked planning for retirement at the top and just 6 percent who said buying a home was No. 1.

Single women also expressed that, 10 years from now, their top three professional priorities would be work/life balance, getting promoted and increasing income. Meanwhile, 10 years from now, the top three personal priorities for single women were listed as travel, getting married and owning their own home.

“On the whole, today’s single women have a strong sense of self and reject the outdated notion that they’re missing out on all that life has to offer,” the study states.

The study also found that single women tend to keep their desire for kids to themselves, especially when in a professional setting. Only 28 percent of single women surveyed said they would choose to share in a professional profile that they eventually want children. In contrast, men were 36 percent more likely than women to share that they want children, according to the study.

Previous research has found that having children isn't great for women's income, as each child takes off about 4 percent of a woman’s hourly wages, while men’s earnings increase by 6 percent after becoming fathers.

This story has been revised to correct the ages of the study participants.