Economic Uncertainty and Fertility Desires, Motivations, and Intentions among Childless U.S. Adults

Karen Guzzo1, Sarah Hayford2
1Bowling Green State University, 2The Ohio State University

Fertility rates in the U.S. have been steadily declining since the Great Recession. This decline may be linked to the unevenness of the economic recovery and continued uncertainty about future economic prospects. In the proposed project, we analyze fertility desires, motivations, and intentions among childless adults using the National Survey of Family Growth. We will link these outcomes, and the relationship between different dimensions of fertility motivation, to both standard socioeconomic measures (education, employment, and poverty) and to more nuanced measures of uncertainty (lack of health insurance, a family member being unable to afford medical care, and a family member experiencing food insecurity). Preliminary bivariate analyses indicate substantial incongruence between having a positive orientation towards having children and actual intentions to have a child. Further, a higher proportion of those with less favorable economic characteristics intend to have a child at all or within a short time frame.