Differential Responses in First Birth Behaviour to Economic Recession in the United Kingdom

Mark J. Lyons-Amos, Institute of Education
Ingrid Schoon, Institute of Education

Economic conditions have historically had dramatic influences on fertility behaviour. Whilst aggregate fertility rates in the United Kingdom since the 2008 Great Recession have belied economic growth rates, there has been little analysis of variation according to individual characteristics. This paper therefore evaluates the effect of the recession on first birth rates allowing the effect of the recession on fertility vary by individual level characteristics, allowing us to observe variation in responses. We model the cumulative transition probability of first birth age 17-30 for three birth cohorts. The effect of the recession is captured using local unemployment rates and individual unemployment status, and a pre-/post- comparison. The overall effect of the recession is disaggregated by social strata. Relatively advantaged groups are able to withstand external economic influences, while women in disadvantaged positions are most likely to not only experience early fertility but are most likely to change their fertility.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors