08 August 2011

The U.S. recession and birth rates

Two graphs I found at Sociological Images.  The top one shows that the fertility rate for U.S. women has fallen during the current recession (this shows correlation, not causality).
This second graph shows that the decline is most prominent among women who have had two children (choosing not to have a third one).  There has been very little change among women having their fourth or subsequent child.  (I just checked - the Duggars had their 19th child in December of 2009.

A third graph at the link suggests a general pattern of greatest fall in fertility in those states with the greatest unemployment increases.


  1. In reference to plants, animals & people, doesn't "fertility" mean being "able to conceive or produce seed"?

    I think they've labeled this wrong. It doesn't reflect people's ABILITY to conceive, that's ridiculous! It just reflects people's actual reproduction/ procreation rates. That strikes me as a really bizarre language choice that could easily be misleading.

  2. "Fertility is the natural capability of giving life.

    As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population.

    Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction (influenced by gamete production, fertilisation and carrying a pregnancy to term)."

    (from Wikipedia)

  3. Oh, okay. That's a technical difference that was lost to the vernacular usage of this reader.


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