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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter documents current trends in childbearing behavior in developed countries—such as large drops in fertility rates and delayed fertility—and reviews some of the mechanisms that can explain them. Ultimately, these trends are linked to the shift in couples’ demand for children following the increase in women’s education and labor market attachment and access to family planning. The chapter also discusses the recent emergence of a positive gap between desired and actual fertility in connection with adverse economic conditions and high housing costs, as well as barriers for women regarding the ability to combine family and work. The chapter closes with a discussion of patterns of fertility among immigrants and of recent fertility policy experiences in developed countries.

Keywords: fertility rates, desired and actual fertility, quantity-quality tradeoff, maternity wage penalty, second demographic transition, procyclical fertility, immigrant fertility

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