NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Fertility Decline in the Civil Rights Era

Owen Thompson

NBER Working Paper No. 26047
Issued in July 2019
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Labor Studies Program, The Public Economics Program

Large black-white fertility differences are a key feature of US demography, and are closely related to the broader dynamics of US racial inequality. To better understand the origins and determinants of racial fertility differentials, this paper examines fertility patterns in the period surrounding passage and implementation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which precipitated a period of rapid socioeconomic and political progress among African Americans, with these gains strongly concentrated in the South. I first show that the relative fertility of southern black women precipitously declined immediately after 1964. Specifically, as of 1964 the general fertility rate of southern black women was 53 births greater than the general fertility rate of southern white women, but by 1969 this gap had fallen to 33 births, a decline of approximately 40% in five years. The black-white fertility gap outside of the South was unchanged over this period. Measures of completed childbearing similarly show rapid black-white fertility convergence in the South but not in the North. An analysis of potential mechanisms finds that a substantial share of the observed fertility convergence can be explained by relative improvements in the earnings of southern blacks, and that the historical intensity of slavery and lynching activity are the strongest spacial correlates of fertility convergence

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26047

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us