Family Matters No. 63 - December 2002

Why is the fertility rate falling?

A discussion of the literature
Ruth Weston and Robyn Parker

Abstract

After decades of falling birth rates, fertility in Australia is now at an all time low. In this article the authors examine what might be the cause of this. Two opposing trends dominate demographic discussion. One is that the world's population is increasing rapidly; and the other is that fertility is on the decline. There are many interacting factors underlining the fall in the fertility rate. The most obvious are the modern fertility control measures and the related changing patterns of family formation. This article begins with these issues, and also covers the labour market, the economy and other social influences and personal beliefs.

After decades of falling birth rates, fertility in Australia is now at an all time low. In this article the authors examine what might be the cause of this. Two opposing trends dominate demographic discussion. One is that the world's population is increasing rapidly; and the other is that fertility is on the decline. There are many interacting factors underlining the fall in the fertility rate. The most obvious are the modern fertility control measures and the related changing patterns of family formation. This article begins with these issues, and also covers the labour market, the economy and other social influences and personal beliefs.

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