Washington: A new research has indicated that the global economic recession of 2008-09 has been followed by a decline in fertility rates in Europe and the United States, bringing to an end the first concerted rise in fertility rates in the developed world since the 1960s.
"In a new study, scientists from the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (VID) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) identify that economic recessions tend to be followed by a decline in fertility rates - and also identify how specific groups of people are influenced by a recession."
The 2008-09 global economic recession, the first major recession since that caused by the oil shocks of the 1970s, brought a sudden trend reversal to the previous pattern of rising fertility rates in several highly developed countries, including Spain and the United States.
A larger group of countries including England and Wales, Ireland, Italy, and Ukraine experienced stagnation of fertility rates, following a decade of generally rising fertility after 1998 (see figure below).
The study found that individual reactions to the recession vary by sex, age, number of children, education level, and migrant status.
"We have noted some specific patterns of behaviour; the young and the childless, for example, are less likely to have children during recessions," said Tomas Sobotka from the VID, one of the authors of the study.
"Highly educated women react to employment uncertainty by adopting a ``postponement strategy,`` especially if they are childless. In contrast, less-educated women often maintain or increase their fertility under economic uncertainty,” added Sobotka.
The patterns differ for men—those with low education and low skills face increasing difficulty in finding a partner or in supporting their family and often show the largest decline in first child birth rates.
The study has been in the Population and Development Review.