Skip Navigation

Course Catalog

380.655.01 Social and Economic Aspects of Human Fertility

Population, Family and Reproductive Health
2nd term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • M W,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Linnea Zimmerman
Course Instructor s:

Each year in the world there are about 146 million births, 57 million deaths, and population growth of about 89 million--about 243,000 per day, or 10,000 an hour. Birth rates range from about 7 children per woman in some countries (producing rapid population growth) to just over 1 child per woman (which can produce population decline) in others. What explains these wide variations, and can they be affected by policy? These are important questions, and this course attempts to survey what behavioral scientists know about, and how they approach, these issues.

The study of fertility is an integral part of population studies (along with mortality and migration) and gives essential background for those studying women’s, infant and perinatal health. This course will cover social and economic theories of fertility, will explore fertility transitions in India, China, the USA and Sub Saharan Africa, will examine major distal and intermediate determinants of fertility and will consider policies affecting fertility around the world. The course will be based on readings that are discussed by student and faculty participants.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define and interpret standard measures of human fertility
  2. Describe trends and variations in fertility over time and across countries
  3. Identify social and economic factors associated with fertility differences within and across populations
  4. Discuss the demographic, social, and economic consequences of fertility levels and fertility change
  5. Apply sociological, economic, and demographic frameworks to the study of fertility and evaluate how applications differ in high- and low- fertility settings
Methods of Assessment:

Class Participation 25%; Summaries of 3 articles 75%

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent needed for undergraduate students

For consent, contact: