Oil & Fertility in North Dakota

So I am following up my own post. A paper I am soon to present looks at fertility rates in North Dakota and how they were impacted by oil activity. My earlier post, Oil boom but no baby boom in ND, showed a lack of change in the age specific fertility rates for North Dakota over time related to the oil boom. That does not tell the whole story though. There are changes though that are important to highlight. Part of my research is an attempt to break out effects from price and quantity changes on the fertility rate in certain areas.

What is interesting is that there are clearly some correlations for a county like Williams County (home to Williston and in the heart of the Bakken boom for those that do not know) and the price of oil. Some correlation with output in oil exists too, though the big issue there is understanding the precise mechanisms and channels where the oil output levels impact fertility decisions.

While much of the country is debating reasons for the changing, and largely declining, fertility rates some parts of North Dakota are dealing with the same question, but in reverse. Are births to women going to increase in North Dakota, or is there a moving forward of children due to oil activity and lifetime number of children will remain the same?

This is a really important question from the perspective of state policy and various expenditures such as medical provision and education services. In addition, it potentially alters the nature of the North Dakota population structure if, and it is a really big if, the state retains these children into later life.

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