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Department of Economics

The Fertility Recession: Understanding Birth Rate Trends in Light of the Recent Financial Crisis

Research completed by David Sweeten, graduated 2020 with Honors in Economics.

Abstract of research: It is well known that the U.S. economy went through much turmoil during the Great Recession that began in 2007. But what is not as commonly understood is how the economic recession accompanied a “fertility recession”-- a drop of considerable magnitude in the average number of births per 1000 fertile women in a year. The great puzzle of this phenomenon is how the fertility rate fell with the economy, but did not appear to have recovered with it. I investigate the dynamics of population and fertility throughout modern history and how these dynamics affect and are affected by economic conditions in the United States.