- Establish the existing relationship b/w fertility & income levels.
- Give reasons for inverse relationship.
- State how in some cases, this relationship is changing with brief reasons.
Contemporary literatures suggest that there is an evident relationship between fertility levels and income of women.
There are two relationships – (a) inverse relationship b/w fertility and income levels, i.e., as income levels rise, fertility levels have dropped significantly. In western world, fertility is at below replacement levels with increasing income levels, and (b) inverse relationship b/w women’s participation in labor force and their fertility levels. As women’s participation in labor force has risen, there has been a fall in their fertility levels.
Reasons : These are primarily due to modern households’ decision to invest in the quality of children that they raise over the quantity of children that they make. Such decisions have helped modern economies to gain high productivity. E.g., kids gaining various skill sets can help boost the economy’s productivity. Also, as more women have entered the labor force, the opportunity cost of bearing & raising children has risen leading many to have fewer children.
However, this inverse relationships has flattened or reversed in some cases and even became positive. As participation of women in labor force has risen, there has also been a rise in fertility levels. This is driven because, women today, get more support from their family, state and society to raise their children. Employment conditions have become better suited to the needs of working mothers like paid maternity leave, creche facilities at workplace, etc. Changes in societal norms have also encouraged working mothers. All these have helped lower the “motherhood penalty” that women incur when they choose to work, simultaneously raising their fertility levels.
Opportunity cost of making & raising children will always have an effect on the decisions made by the households. Also, the influence of societal views on the households’ decision to have children may be a topic worth exploring. After all, it can have a significant effect on the costs that households are willing to bear to have & raise children.