The brief’s key findings are:
- The U.S. fertility rate has fallen sharply since the Great Recession. The question is whether it’s a lingering effect of the downturn or a more permanent drop.
- A review of different measures of fertility suggests a mixed picture.
- But a state-level analysis shows that while fertility typically rises in expansions, in the current expansion it has actually declined more than it did during the recession.
- Four structural changes suggest the decline may be more permanent:
- a falling birthrate among Hispanics,
- a rising share of women with college degrees;
- a falling birthrate among people who do not belong to a religious organization; and
- a rise in the female-to-male wage ratio.