Income and Fertility: The Elusive Relationship

This paper uses longitudinal data for 1962-1977 to examine the relationship of husband's income to 1962 expected fertility, to final parity, and to the discrepancy between initial expectations and final parity, separately for four groups of women who in 1962 either had just given birth to a first, second, or fourth child or had just been married. Although economic reasons frequently were cited in 1977 for downward revisions in family size goals, husband's income was not positively related to fertility in three of the four parity groups. For the merged sample, excluding women with unwanted births, husband's income showed a small positive relationship to completed fertility.