People Aren’t Having Babies Because The Rent Is Too Damn High


Now some housing news to cheer ourselves up…

In a recent paper co-authored with Harvard Kennedy School PhD candidate Lauren Russell, Daniel Shoag, a Kennedy School and Case Western Reserve professor, found “a significant relationship between land-use restrictions and fertility rates across all measures and geographies.” Shoag and Russell determined the relative restrictiveness of a city’s land-use policies by the number of cases brought to court around housing issues; they crossed that data with listings like the Wharton Residential Land Use Index to arrive at a complete picture of a city’s zoning codes and housing stock. When overlayed with fertility data from the CDC, they found that the cities and towns that actively stifle or restrict development are seeing fertility rates, especially among young women, plummet.

Fewer children being born now–especially in the wealthiest cities–means there will be fewer people to prop up the economy in the years to come, and fewer people to support the population aging now. We’ve essentially created a system that makes reproduction such a burden on people that the system will soon no longer be able to reproduce itself (again, this is a problem with capitalism).


Not sure why the author kept bringing up capitalism as if it was designed to have few babies. The anti-growth zoning laws and rabid NIMBYism is anything but capitalism.


Low birth rates are correlated world wide to decrease as income increases. They also decrease as female education increases. I doubt it has much to do with rent since the households having the most kids make under $10k/yr.