Volume 37 - Article 27 | Pages 867–888

Economic crisis promotes fertility decline in poor areas: Evidence from Colombia

By Eleonora Davalos, Leonardo Fabio Morales

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:23 Jul 2016
Date published:29 Sep 2017
Word count:4742
Keywords:Colombia, economic crisis, fertility decline, Latin America, poverty


Background: The effects of an economic recession extend beyond financial spheres and spill over into present and future family decisions via income restrictions and expectations. Hardly any research on the effects of economic recession on fertility outcomes has taken place in developing countries.

Objective: This study seeks to explain the effects of economic cycles on fertility outcomes in poor areas.

Methods: This paper analyzes fertility trends from the third largest economy in Latin America – Colombia – from 1998 to 2013. We estimate a panel data regression model with state and year fixed effects.

Results: On average, periods of recession are associated with fertility decline in poor areas and fertility growth in well-off areas. During an economic crisis, fertility in poor states decreases by 0.002 children per woman, while in well-off states fertility increases by 0.007 children per woman.

Conclusions: The impact of an economic crisis on fertility varies depending on poverty. Poor states have procyclical responses while well-off states tend to have countercyclical reactions to economic downturns.

Contribution: This study illuminates the procyclical and countercyclical debate, showing that within a country there can be two different responses to an economic downturn.

Author's Affiliation

Eleonora Davalos - Universidad EAFIT, Colombia [Email]
Leonardo Fabio Morales - Banco de la República, Colombia [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» On the pace of fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 37 - Article 40    | Keywords: fertility decline, Latin America

» High life expectancy and reversed socioeconomic gradients of elderly people in Mexico and Costa Rica
Volume 38 - Article 3    | Keywords: Latin America

» The impact of kin availability, parental religiosity, and nativity on fertility differentials in the late 19th-century United States
Volume 37 - Article 34    | Keywords: fertility decline

» Women’s education, infant and child mortality, and fertility decline in urban and rural sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 37 - Article 21    | Keywords: fertility decline

» The long-term determinants of marital fertility in the developed world (19th and 20th centuries): The role of welfare policies
Volume 36 - Article 42    | Keywords: fertility decline