Adjusting Fertility Plans during Periods of Economic Uncertainty

Karen B. Guzzo, Bowling Green State University

Although aggregate fertility declines during periods of economic recession, it is unclear how individual fertility decisions are affected. Economic downturns are not experienced equally across social strata, and there is variation in both fertility decision-making processes and actual fertility behaviors by education. Using two cross-sectional U.S. surveys taken during 2009, I examine individual fertility plans during the economic recession. While those who experienced direct financial strain were most likely to report that the economy affected their fertility plans, the highly educated were most likely to have actually postponed a birth in a past year (and least likely to report feeling financially strained). This suggests that the fertility decisions of highly educated individuals are not directly affected by the recession in the same manner as those with less education; education is positively associated with planned increases in child-related expenditures but negatively associated with believing financial considerations are important in fertility decisions.

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Presented in Session 143: Fertility and Crisis