Date of Award

Fall 2020

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Kenneth Johnson

Second Advisor

Rebecca Glauber

Third Advisor

Cliff Brown


The United States fertility rate declined sharply during the Great Recession that lasted from 2007-2009. Now a decade removed from the recession, I examine current fertility rates to see if they have rebounded to pre-recession levels. I use 5-year American Community Survey data to compare 2013-2018 fertility rates to 2006-2010 fertility rates at the county level across the United States. Variables such as race, region, education, median household income, the urban-rural continuum and USDA county typologies were analyzed to analyze fertility trends in different types of counties across the country. Fertility declined 9.5% over the observed time period. Counties with high Hispanic populations are experiencing higher fertility declines than White or Black communities. The results of this study indicate that fertility rates are not recovering after the decline that occurred during the Great Recession. Instead, many women are having fewer children than they would in generations before, leading to a faster decline in fertility rates.