Gender Ideology and Fertility Trends in the United States: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979

Thomas Anderson, University of Pennsylvania

While high levels of gender equity strongly correlate with moderately high levels of fertility among developed countries, contradictory empirical evidence has caused a debate whether the relationship between low gender equity and low fertility holds within these societies. Within the United States, few studies have systematically analyzed individuals’ attitudes on gender equity and their associations with fertility outcomes. Of those that have, their evidence remains inconclusive at best. Using data from the NLSY 1979, this paper fills in the gaps in the literature on fertility and gender equity in the United States by analyzing whether gender equity attitudes are predictive of completed family size and birth progressions. I find that both men and women with progressive views on gender equity have lower fertility than their traditional counterparts, though these results were stronger, more consistent, and more significant across models for women.

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Presented in Session 124: Low Fertility and Childlessness