Fertility and the Economy

Fertility rates go up and down with economy: Delaware Valley OBGYN blog
A rise in fertility rate and birth rate preceeds economic booms and a decrease precedes recessions

Can a busy waiting room in your OBGYN  doctor's office or the fertility clinic mean the economy is going to boom?

Actually it may.

Some of us who practice in reproductive health care have noticed that the number of women getting pregnant or attempting pregnancy seems to wax and wane over time. It certainly makes sense that couples would be more likely to plan a family when times are good and avoid pregnancies when the economy goes south, but in the in end it was just an observation with any real information to support that hunch. That is until now.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reported recently that fertility rates, in this case the birth rates more specifically, go up and down with the cycles in the economy.

What is even more interesting is that the birth rate changes proceeded the upswings and downswings in the economy.

  • A drop in birth rates can predict an upcoming recession.

  • A risk in birth rates can predict upcoming economic boom.


Somehow, the national mood, how confident people were in the future not only predicted how the economy would do but how many couples would be trying to have a baby.