Education and fertility in the context of rising inequality

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6 Scopus citations


Two main factors arguably account for the fact that the negative gradient of fertility by educational attainment, which has been prevalent in developed countries in most of the 20th century, has recently become weaker in most Western countries: rising inequality and educational composition shifts that change the selectivity of educated mothers in terms of their preferences regarding career and children. In this paper I review how four drivers of inequality mediate the childbearing behavior of women of different educational backgrounds: first, the impact of rising employment polarization; second, the slowdown in gender convergence in labor participation and wages since the late 1990s; third, the fertility behavior of newly-arrived immigrants contingent on economic opportunities in destination countries; and fourth, widening gaps in resources children receive from parents with different levels of educational attainment. These gaps can have lasting intergenerational impact both in economic and social outcomes such as fertility and union formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-92
Number of pages30
JournalVienna Yearbook of Population Research
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


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