Fertility Behavior of American Women

  • Larry L. Bumpass
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 11)


The recent low fertility of U.S. women has been much heralded. The crude birth rate for 1972 was 15 (below that of the Depression) and the period total fertility rate is below replacement. The crucial question is whether this low fertility is merely a transitory product of delays in marriages and births or whether basic long-run changes have occurred. Although predictions are highly vulnerable, I think recent declines reflect a revolution in the fertility regime. I will outline the argument upon which that conclusion is based and then report briefly on findings which are relevant to points in that argument and concern the relationship between employment and fertility expectations among recently married women.


American Woman Birth Interval Crude Birth Rate Fertility Control Female Role 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blake, J., 1972, Coercive pronatalism and American population policy, Preliminary Paper No. 2, International Population and Urban Research, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  2. Bumpass, L.L., 1973, Is low fertility here to stay?, Family Planning Perspectives 5:67–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bumpass, L.L., and Presser, H.B., 1972, Contraceptive sterilization in the U.S.: 1965 and 1970, Demography 9:531–548.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bumpass, L.L., and Presser, H.B., 1973, The increasing acceptance of sterilization and abortion, in Toward the End of Growth: Population in America (C.F. Westoff, ed.), pp. 33–46, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.Google Scholar
  5. Bumpass, L.L., and Westoff, C.F., 1970, The ‘perfect contraceptive’ population, Science 169:1177–1182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Freedman, R., Coombs, L., and Bumpass, L., 1965, Stability and change in expectations about family size: a longitudinal study, Demography 2:250–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ryder, N.B., 1965, The cohort in the study of social change, Amer. Sociol. Rev. 30:843–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ryder, N.B., 1972a, Time series of pill and IUD use: United States 1961–70, Studies in Family Planning 3:233–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ryder, N.B., 1972b, A demographic optimum projection for the United States, in Demographic and Social Aspects of Population Growth: The Commission on Population Growth and the American Future Research Reports (C.F. Westoff and R. Parke, Jr., eds.), Vol. I, pp. 605–622, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  10. Ryder, N.B., and Westoff, C.F., 1971, Reproduction in the United States: 1965, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  11. Sweet, J.A., 1973, The Employment and Earnings of Married Women, Seminar Press, New York (see especially Chapter 6).Google Scholar
  12. U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1972, Birth Expectations and Fertility: June 1972, in Current Papulation Reports, Ser. P-20, No. 240 (September), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  13. Westoff, C.F., 1972, The modernization of U.S. contraceptive practices, Family Planning Perspectives 4:9–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry L. Bumpass
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Demography and EcologyThe University of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations