Two children per woman in France in 2010: Is French fertility immune to economic crisis?

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Gilles Pison

Population and Societies

N°476, March 2011, n° ISSN 0184 77 83

Contrary to expectation, the number of births continued to increase in France in 2010, despite the economic crisis. Instead of lowering fertility, has increased unemployment actually produced the opposite effect? Are jobless women taking advantage of their situation to have a child? To shed light on the question, Gilles Pison analyses the relationship between economic climate and fertility in France and in other developed countries, notably during periods of recession.

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Abstract (click on +)

While economic slowdowns generally result in fewer births, the total fertility rate in France continued to increase in 2010 (2.00 children per woman versus 1.99 in 2009). The most recent recession occurred at a time when fertility was rising in most western nations. The recession reversed this trend in some countries, including the United States, or slowed down the increase in others, such as in Russia. France appears to be in the latter situation. Without the crisis, the total fertility rate would probably have increased even further, topping two children per woman in metropolitan France.
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Contents (click on +)

  • A loose link between economic climate and fertility in France
  • Economic crisis simply delays births
  • A general fertility uptrend held back by recession