Population and Environment

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 69–81 | Cite as

Population Density is a Key Factor in Declining Human Fertility

  • Wolfgang LutzEmail author
  • Maria Rita Testa
  • Dustin J. Penn


In studying the complex determinants of human fertility, social scientists have given little attention to population density, although reproduction has been shown to be density-dependent for a wide variety of other species. Using fixed effects models on the time series of 145 countries and controlling for key social and economic variables, we find a consistent and significant negative relationship between human fertility and population density. Moreover, we find that individual fertility preferences also decline with population density. These findings suggest that population density should be included as a variable in future studies of fertility determinants.


Population density Fertility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Lutz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Rita Testa
    • 2
  • Dustin J. Penn
    • 3
  1. 1.International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)LaxenburgAustria
  2. 2.Vienna Institute of DemographyAustrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria
  3. 3.Konrad Lorenz Institute for EthologyAustrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria

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