Explaining Fertility in the American South during the 1990s

Leonard M. Lopoo, Syracuse University

In 2002, 34.6 million people or 12.7 percent of the United States population was poor. Hidden in these statistics are dramatic regional differences in poverty. Nine of the ten states (including the District of Columbia) with the highest proportion of poor people were located in the southern census region. Although there are many reasons for the higher poverty rates in the South, one factor that is often neglected is differential fertility rates leading to larger family size. Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics and a variety of other sources, this research looks for links between demographic, economic, and policy factors and the differential fertility of women in the American South during the 1990s. More specifically, this research asks if differences in age, race/ethnicity, unemployment rates, female wages, Child Support Enforcement, Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits, and abortion policies can explain why the South is different.

  See paper

Presented in Session 156: Population and Povery 2