Princeton Researchers Link Recessions To Long-Term Decreased Fertility Rates

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According to a study conducted by Princeton University researchers, recessions cause long-term decreased in fertility rates in the United States.

The team researched 140 million U.S. birth records from the Vital Statistics of the United States public database. They grouped mothers by age and state of birth, then tracked fertility rates of each group between 1975 and 2010.

Postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health and Wellbeing Hannes Schwandt explained that women who chose to postpone having children during a recession may not end up having children later. One of the main findings in the research suggested that there’s a certain window for women to marry and start a family, and that if they the window they’re much less likely to “settle down” later in life.

“In response to a recession, [some women] stay childless, so they’re missing the first child during the recession,” Schwandt said. ”Then they grow older, but then they’re also missing the second child and the third child. This means that over time, there are more and more babies missing.”

The researchers also found that a common reason women chose to postpone marriage and partnership is that during a recession the economic attractiveness of men is lessened. Because the income of men is depressed permanently, they become less desirable partners.

“It’s important if you’re interested in population growth, or [in] the ability of people to fulfill their desires of how many kids they want to have,” Alícia Adserà, a Wilson School professor and faculty associate of the University’s Office of Population Research. noted.

Schwandt noted that the information can be useful to women individually, since many may be considering postponing children, but that they might not recognize that the choice could be permanent. Schwandt noted that the information will also be useful for countries interested in boosting their fertility rates.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Daily Princetonian


 
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