Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Human Capital in HistoryThe American Record$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Leah Platt Boustan, Carola Frydman, and Robert A. Margo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226163895

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226163925.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2021

Is There a Case for a “Second Demographic Transition”?

Is There a Case for a “Second Demographic Transition”?

Three Distinctive Features of the Post-1960 US Fertility Decline

(p.273) 8 Is There a Case for a “Second Demographic Transition”?
Human Capital in History

Leah Platt Boustan

Carola Frydman

Robert A. Margo

University of Chicago Press

Dramatic fertility swings over the last 100 years have been the subject of literatures in demography and economics. Recent research has claimed the post-1960 fertility decline may constitute a “Second Demographic Transition.” However, this rests largely on comparisons of the post-1960 period with the baby boom era, which was exceptional in many ways. Our analysis of the U.S. compares the fertility decline in the 1960s and 1970s to the earlier twentieth century decline, especially the 1920s and 1930s. We find that both periods experienced similar declines in fertility rates and that affected cohorts averaged the same number of children over their lifetimes. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the mean age of household formation (by marriage or non-marital cohabitation) and first birth are almost identical for women reaching childbearing age in the 1920s and 1930s and today. Three features distinguish the post-1960 period: (1) the convergence in the distribution of completed childbearing around a two-child mode and a decrease in childlessness; (2) the decoupling of marriage and motherhood; and (3) a transformation in the relationship between the educational attainment of mothers and childbearing outcomes. These features have implications for children’s opportunities and educational achievement, and widening inequality in U.S. labor markets.

Keywords:   second demographic transition, fertility swings, baby boom, marriage, non-marital cohabitation, childlessness, mother’s educational attainment, children’s educational attainment

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.