Urban fertility responses to local government programs : Evidence from the 1923-1932 US

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Fox , J & Myrskyla , M 2015 , ' Urban fertility responses to local government programs : Evidence from the 1923-1932 US ' , Demographic Research , vol. 32 , no. 16 , 16 , pp. 487-532 . https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.16

Title: Urban fertility responses to local government programs : Evidence from the 1923-1932 US
Author: Fox, Jonathan; Myrskyla, Mikko
Contributor organization: Centre for Social Data Science, CSDS
Center for Population, Health and Society
Population Research Unit (PRU)
Date: 2015-02-18
Language: eng
Number of pages: 46
Belongs to series: Demographic Research
ISSN: 1435-9871
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.16
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/166471
Abstract: BACKGROUND During the 1920s and early 1930s, U. S. fertility declined overall but with large regional variations. Changes in foreign born populations explain only part of this. Differences in public health and poverty relief programs may further help explain these declines because of their potential impact on fertility determinants, in particular on breastfeeding and child mortality. OBJECTIVE We investigate whether public health investments in child health (conservation of child life programs) and poverty relief (outdoor care of poor or charity for children and mothers) affected fertility for U. S. cities over 100,000 persons between 1923 and 1932. METHODS We analyze data covering 64 cities between 1923-1932 that include birth information from the U. S. Birth, Stillbirth and Infant Mortality Statistics volumes and city financial information from the Financial Statistics of Cities volumes. Time and city fixed-effects models are used to identify the impact of public investments on fertility. RESULTS Fixed effects estimates indicating the conservation of child life programs explain about 10 % of the fertility change between 1923 and 1932. Outdoor care of poor did not seem to be related to fertility. Investments in charity for children and mothers were associated with fertility increases, possibly because poorer areas experienced relative increases in both higher fertility and charitable spending. CONCLUSIONS Public spending on child health was strongly related to decreasing fertility in the U. S. during the 1920s, possibly because of increased breastfeeding and decreased child mortality. This leads to a better understanding of the 1920s fertility decline and highlights how public policy may affect fertility.
5141 Sociology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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