Volume 18 - Article 5 | Pages 145-180

Fertility trends by social status

By Vegard Skirbekk

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Date received:06 Nov 2007
Date published:28 Mar 2008
Word count:4178
Keywords:education, fertility, income, occupation, social class, status, wealth
Additional files:StatusFertilityDataset (Excel file, 2 MB)


This article discusses how fertility relates to social status with the use of a new dataset, several times larger than the ones used so far. The status-fertility relation is investigated over several centuries, across world regions and by the type of status-measure. The study reveals that as fertility declines, there is a general shift from a positive to a negative or neutral status-fertility relation. Those with high income/wealth or high occupation/social class switch from having relatively many to fewer or the same number of children as others. Education, however, depresses fertility for as long as this relation is observed (from early in the 20th century).

Author's Affiliation

Vegard Skirbekk - Columbia University, United States of America [Email]

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