Sociology Index


Fertility rate is the number of children born to women in their fertile years within a given population. Fertility rate is usually expressed as the average number of children born to women over their life time. Fertility rate is not to be confused with the birth rate. Fecundity refers to the potential number of children a woman can have. It is well known that the relationship between the female labor force participation rate (FLPR) and the total fertility rate (TFR) shifted from a negative correlation (countries with higher FLPR have lower total fertility rate) to a positive one (countries with higher female labor force participation rate have higher total fertility rate) among the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the 1980s.

However, it has yet to be determined whether this means that the causal relationship between these two variables itself has changed or other factors caused the shift in the correlation. This paper shows that the causal relationship between FLPR and total fertility rate in the OECD countries remains negative on average when unobservable fertility determinants inherent to each country are taken into account and controlled by the country-specific fixed effects, but changes in the social environment surrounding married employed women.

That is, enhancement in balancing work and family life, or increased work-family friendliness, from the 1980s onward have weakened this negative correlation through the following two mechanisms: 1) the interaction effect between female labor force participation rate and work-family friendliness on fertility rate, combined with an increase in the work-family friendliness, and 2) an increase in the indirect positive effect of female labor force participation rate that partially offsets - by way of association with work-family friendliness - the direct negative effect of female labor force participation rate. The paper also discusses the implications of these facts vis-a-vis Japan's policy measures to counter below-replacement fertility. - True Relationship Between Female Labor Force Participation and Total Fertility Rate: An Analysis of OECD Countries - Author Name YAMAGUCHI Kazuo (Visiting Fellow, RIETI / Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago)

The impact of a reduced fertility rate on women's health - Jennifer Payne, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, 120 Colonnade Rd, Ottawa, Canada - BMC Women's Health 2004, 4(Suppl 1):S11
Health Issue: Total fertility rates (TFRs) have decreased worldwide. The Canadian fertility rate has gone from 3.90 per woman in 1960 to 1.49 in 2000. However, not many studies have examined the impact on women's health of reduced fertility rates, delayed fertility and more births to unmarried women. This paper presents information on the relation between family size and specific determinants of health.

Key Findings: The rate of Total fertility rates decline varies considerably by geographic location and socio-demographic subgroup. Further, the associations between family size and selected determinants of health are different for women and men. For example a woman with one child is almost four times more likely to be "coupled" than a childless woman, and if she has two children she is significantly more likely to be "coupled" than if she had only one child. However, a man with one or more children is over six times more likely to be "coupled" than his childless counterpart, and this does not vary with family size.
Data Gaps and Recommendations: There is a paucity of data on the impact of reduced fertility rates on women's health in general and on how women's roles affect their decision to have children. While it would be useful to examine longer-term health outcomes by parity and age of first birth, as well as socio-economic and role-related variables these longitudinal and detailed "role related" data are not available. Given the differing profiles of women and men with children, further health policies research is needed to support vulnerable women with children.

Why Has Japan's Fertility Rate Declined?
A Empirical Literature Survey with an Emphasis on Policy Implication
Yusuke Date.
Satoshi Shimizutani.
Abstract: Japan's total fertility rate declined to 1.32 in 2002, the lowest in its modern era. Such a drastic decline in fertility rate is an exception in the world. What the decrease in birthrate brings is an unbalanced demographic composition between a productive and dependent population. This development might result in a bigger burden per person regarding social security; it might even have a negative effect on Japan's long-term economic performance.
This paper surveys the literature on the decline in Japan's fertility rate. We emphasize the policy implications for supporting a spur in Japan's birthrate. First, we describe a long-term trend in Japan's fertility rate and show that the decline after the 1970s was attributed to a decline in the number of marriages, and partly to a decline in households with three or more children.