In the past half century, Americans have had fewer and fewer babies with almost every passing decade; in 2020, the U.S. reported the lowest official fertility rate on record. But last year, statisticians observed a surprising baby bump. Researchers weren’t entirely sure what had happened. Maybe this was random noise. Maybe, like so many pandemic effects, it was a weird one-off phenomenon.
A new paper puts forth a fascinating theory: Maybe remote work is making it easier for couples to become parents—and for parents to have more children.
The economist Adam Ozimek and the demographer Lyman Stone looked at survey data of 3,000 American women from the Demographic Intelligence Family Survey. They concluded that female remote workers were more likely to intend to have a baby than all-office workers, especially if they were richer, older, and more educated. What’s more, remote workers in the survey were more likely to marry in the next year than their nonremote counterparts.