Socioeconomic Status, Historical Context and Genetic Variants in Shaping Human Fertility Behaviour

Xuejie Ding , University of Oxford

This study demonstrates that human fertility behaviour is a consequence of the complex interplay among individuals’ gene, socioeconomic status (SES) and the historical context in which they live. Drawing on approximately 9,869 genetic samples from the Health and Retirement Study, I first investigate how childhood and adulthood SES (measured by father’s education and own education) moderate the impact of the genetic predictors of the number of children ever born and age at the first birth. I then consider differences across birth cohorts in the genetic influence on fertility, and cohort variations in the moderating effects of SES on the genetic influence. The analyses suggest that the genetic influence on NEB is greater for individuals who are from disadvantaged SES background. In other words, the SES disparity in NEB manifests only for individuals with a higher genetic propensity to NEB, but not for those with lower genetic propensities. Such a relationship is not observed in AFB. The preliminary results show non-significant PGS × Cohort interactions, suggesting no significant changes in genetic influence on fertility behaviours across cohorts.

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 Presented in Session 129. Education and Fertility