Why Are Fertility Rates Dropping?

If you’re interested in knowing why the U.S. fertility rate is dropping, keep reading. We’ll cover: the COVID-19 pandemic, societal changes, and income and education levels. These factors have contributed to a drop in conception rates. And, it may be time to take action. Let’s start with the good news: the data shows that the drop in conception rates has been reversed since June 2020.

U.S. fertility rate has been declining since COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has lowered the U.S. fertility rate, which has been decreasing since the start of the pandemic. The number of births dropped by four percent in January and December of 2020, which was unusually low. Since 2008, the number of births has been on a downward trend. This trend has been attracting the attention of many demographers and economists. The decline in births in the U.S. could be related to the pandemic, since it was not the cause of the declining fertility rate.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the beginning and end of a woman’s reproductive cycle. The provisional monthly data show a drop in births during winter 2020-2021, with signs of a rebound by March. The trend is similar to what the data showed before the pandemic. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the U.S. fertility rate has been declining since 2008, but is now beginning to rebound.

Changes in roles

There are many factors influencing women’s reproductive health, such as social and economic circumstances. Increasing education levels and a decrease in child mortality are factors that may be contributing to a decrease in fertility rates. In addition, more women are able to earn more money and have more options for their careers. These factors have helped reduce the need for infanticide, which may be one factor contributing to the decline of fertility rates.

While many economists agree that changing roles are a factor contributing to lower fertility rates, these same researchers also point out that there are many other factors. One study found that women with higher educational levels have lower fertility rates than those with no or low education. This increase is closely related to wage inequality. The rising wage gap reduces the relative cost of child care, which is a factor affecting the fertility rates of women.


Historically, periods of economic downturn have coincided with declines in fertility in the United States. These declines are typically temporary and only affect timing of conception, rather than overall number of children. Following the Great Recession in 2008, fertility rates continued to decline, although the rate of births increased slightly from the previous two years. But the reasons for this decline in fertility have yet to be fully understood. In the coming decades, researchers will likely continue to study this question.

Although studies have shown that higher incomes are associated with lower fertility, there is no definitive proof that higher earnings are connected to lower fertility. The correlation between higher incomes and fertility has been weaker than expected in recent decades, especially among US women from the most recent birth cohort. In 1980, the lowest fertility rate was found among highly educated women with more than 16 years of education. In 2019, that relationship is stronger than it was when the study was conducted.


While education is not always the primary cause of declining fertility, it is often a contributing factor. Higher education is linked to later childbearing. Age and educational attainment analyses have shown that women with a bachelor’s degree are less likely to be childless than they were two decades ago. By 2010, only 25 percent of women in this age group were childless. A more comprehensive analysis is necessary to fully understand the reasons for the declining fertility rate.

While the relationship between female education and fertility rates has historically been negative, the link between education and fertility has weakened in recent generations. Women with a higher educational level had the lowest fertility rates in 1980, but this relationship isn’t as strong now. In the United Kingdom, highly educated women with at least a high school education no longer had the lowest fertility rate. And higher levels of education are associated with better health and wealth.