May 2008

IZA DP No. 3506: Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States

Delia Furtado, Heinrich Hock

revised version published as "Low Skilled Immigration and Work-Fertility Tradeoffs Among High Skilled US Natives" in: American Economic Review, 2010, 100 (2), 224-228

The negative correlation between female employment and fertility in industrialized nations has weakened since the 1960s, particularly in the United States. We suggest that the continuing influx of low-skilled immigrants has led to a substantial reduction in the trade-off between work and childrearing facing American women. The evidence we present indicates that low-skilled immigration has driven down wages in the US child-care sector. More affordable child-care has, in turn, increased the fertility of college graduate native females. Although childbearing is generally associated with temporary exit from the labor force, immigrant-led declines in the price of child-care has reduced the extent of role incompatibility between fertility and work.