More Money, More Children?: Income and Fertility Patterns in America, 1972-1998

Julie Fennell, Brown University

Americans have gained increasingly greater access to more reliable fertility control technologies—particularly hormonal birth control and abortions—over the last thirty years. We should therefore expect that Americans have become increasingly capable of realizing their fertility ideals over this time period. However, access to these technologies also requires access to financial resources which are not equally available to all. Using data from the General Social Survey 1972-1998, I attempt to show that during this time period, people have, in general, become more capable of actualizing their fertility ideals, but wealthier people are better able to realize their fertility ideals than people with less income. Preliminary analysis suggests that, net of other factors, income has little significant effect on any fertility outcomes, although education has a significant negative effect on all fertility outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being