The Future of American Fertility

Samuel H. Preston and Caroline Sten Hartnett

in Demography and the Economy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226754727
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226754758 | DOI:
The Future of American Fertility

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This chapter reviews major factors that are affecting levels of American fertility and its future. The subject covers a vast disciplinary range including demography, economics, sociology, public health, reproductive biology, evolutionary biology, political science, and psychology. There is no single, widely accepted framework for analyzing the determinants of fertility at the level of a population. Roughly, American fertility, the average number of children that a woman has over her childbearing lifetime, has hovered at or slightly below the zero-population growth level. This chapter also reviews the history of American fertility, the connection between fertility and marriage, religion, education, female labor force participation, ethnicity, the relative earnings of women and men, birth control technology, and even the composition of the Supreme Court.

Keywords: American fertility; demography; evolutionary biology; birth control technology; zero-population growth level; Hispanic population; marriage; religion; education; female labor; fertility variation

Chapter.  13168 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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