Job losses during the Great Recession may be responsible for decline in US birth rates

November 18, 2019

(Carlisle, Pa.) - New research published this month in the Southern Economic Journal reveals job losses during the Great Recession (2007-2009) may be partly responsible for the recent drop in U.S. birth rates. Further, researchers found job losses for men and women affect fertility in different ways--as does women's age and marital status--shedding light on possible drivers of the falling U.S. birth rate, which has been slipping since 2007.

Economist Shamma Alam, assistant professor of international studies at Dickinson College, and Bijetri Bose of UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health found that for married or cohabitating couples, job losses for male heads-of-household led to a significant decline in fertility. In contrast, job losses for female heads-of-household did not affect the likelihood of birth in the short term or medium term. However, job losses for single women decreased the likelihood of birth, and this negative effect on fertility persisted in the medium term, further illustrating the fertility of single women has been decreasing for a longer time compared to married couples. Collectively, the data show a relationship between job losses and the falling birth rate.

The data also reveal women over 40 are more likely to have a birth following a job loss. "Losing a job, while creating stress and uncertainty, can also lead to additional time to care for a child," said Alam. The authors say the data showed extra time after a job loss could be a factor encouraging older women to conceive, especially as fertility decreases with age.

Alam suggests a potential reason for male job loss affecting fertility more than female job loss could be due to earnings. "Men are traditionally the primary income earners for many households, so losing a larger proportion of household income could cause couples to delay births or have fewer children," said Alam. Additionally, the researchers noted poorer families reduced their fertility more compared to wealthier families. They said this was due to more affluent families having greater income/wealth to fall back on following a job loss.

The study looked at data during the recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, and for the four years following the recession. In the study, which is the first to use longer-term individual and household data on fertility and the recession, Alam and Bose analyzed data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a national survey with detailed information on employment, fertility and household wealth and income, which has been running since 1968.
-end-
Interview Requests

Interviews with Professor Alam can be arranged through the Dickinson College Media Relations Office or by contacting Prof. Alam directly at: alams@dickinson.edu

Copies

Copies of the Southern Economic Journal paper, "Did the Great Recession Affect Fertility? Examining the Impact of Job Displacements on the Timing of Births in the United States" can be obtained by visiting https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12408 or by contacting Prof. Alam.

About Dickinson College

Dickinson is a nationally recognized liberal-arts college chartered in 1783 in Carlisle, Pa. The highly selective college is home to 2,400 students from across the nation and around the world. Defining characteristics of a Dickinson education include a focus on global education?at home and abroad?and study of the environment and sustainability, which is integrated into the curriculum and the campus and exemplifies the college's commitment to providing an education for the common good. http://www.dickinson.edu

Dickinson College

Related Fertility Articles from Brightsurf:

What are your chances of having a second IVF baby after fertility treatment for the first?
As the restrictions on fertility clinics start to be lifted and IVF treatment resumes, research published in Human Reproduction journal offers reassuring news to women who have had to delay their treatment for a second IVF baby because of the coronavirus.

Fertility preservation use among transgender adolescents
Transgender adolescents often seek hormonal intervention to achieve a body consistent with their gender identity and those interventions affect reproductive function.

A new way to assess male fertility
Current tests for male fertility include measuring the concentration and motility of spermatozoa.

Male fertility after chemotherapy: New questions raised
Professor Delb├Ęs, who specializes in reproductive toxicology, conducted a pilot study in collaboration with oncologists and fertility specialists from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) on a cohort of 13 patients, all survivors of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma.

Vaping may harm fertility in young women
E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Are fertility apps useful?
Researchers at EPFL and Stanford have carried out an analysis of the largest datasets from fertility awareness apps.

Marijuana and fertility: Five things to know
For patients who smoke marijuana and their physicians, 'Five things to know about ... marijuana and fertility' provides useful information for people who may want to conceive.

How could a changing climate affect human fertility?
Human adaptation to climate change may include changes in fertility, according to a new study by an international group of researchers.

Migrants face a trade-off between status and fertility
Researchers from the universities of Helsinki, Turku and Missouri as well as the Family Federation of Finland present the first results from a new, extraordinarily comprehensive population-wide dataset that details the lives of over 160,000 World War II evacuees in terms of integration.

Phthalates may impair fertility in female mice
A phthalate found in many plastic and personal care products may decrease fertility in female mice, a new study found.

Read More: Fertility News and Fertility Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.