A Room to Grow: The Residential Density-Dependence of Childbearing in Europe and the United States

  • Nathanael Lauster Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia


It is argued that cultural processes linked to the demographic transition produce new density-dependent fertility dynamics. In particular, childbearing becomes dependent upon residential roominess. This relationship is culturally specific, and that the cultural nature of this relationship means that professional and managerial classes are likely to be particularly influenced by residential roominess, while immigrants are less likely to be influenced. Hypotheses are tested linking residential roominess to the presence of an “own infant” in the household using census data from the Austria, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Roominess predicts fertility in all countries, but to differing degrees.