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Am Econ Rev. 2015 Jun;105(6):1852-82.

Fertility and Childlessness in the United States.

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Centre de Recherche en Démographie et Société, Bureau A-146, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
IRES, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


We develop a theory of fertility, distinguishing its intensive margin from its extensive margin. The deep parameters are identified using facts from the 1990 US Census: (i) fertility of mothers decreases with education; (ii) childlessness exhibits a U-shaped relationship with education; (iii) the relationship between marriage rates and education is hump-shaped for women and increasing for men. We estimate that 2.5 percent of women were childless because of poverty and 8.1 percent because of high opportunity cost of childrearing. Over time, historical trends in total factor productivity and in education led to a U-shaped response in childlessness rates while fertility of mothers decreased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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