Prior research indicates a negative relationship between women's labor force participation and fertility at the individual level in the United States, but little is known about the reasons for this relationship beyond work hours. We employed discrete event history models using panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 2,411) and found that the importance of career considerations mediates the work hours/fertility relationship. Further, fertility intentions and the importance of career considerations were more predictive of birth outcomes as women's work hours increase. Ultimately, our findings challenge the assumption that working more hours is the direct cause for employed women having fewer children and highlight the importance of career and fertility preferences in fertility outcomes.
- Career importance
- Event history analysis