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A recent analysis from Zillow showed a correlation between the housing prices in expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles and the change in fertility among women aged 25 to 29. As housing prices go up, people can afford less space, so the higher price of the housing needed to accommodate kids leads people to delay having a family, to have fewer kids, or to have no kids at all.

But CityLab's Richard Florida says the relationship isn't that simple.

There is a significant body of demographic literature which contends that it is not higher cost burdens, but actually higher levels of education and income that cause fertility rates to fall. Across the world, as people and cities and nations get richer, the birth rate declines accordingly. The trend that the Zillow report describes fits into that pattern—not the other way around. Actually, according to Zillow’s own models, housing prices explain less than 20 percent of the variation in fertility. That’s more likely, and more in line with what we know about the connection between housing prices and birth rates.

young people starting out in their careers and without kids head to expensive cities, where opportunities are plentiful. They don’t necessarily move out of these expensive cities when they form relationships and get married, or even when they initially have kids—that is why the streets of expensive cities are filled with parents and caretakers pushing expensive strollers. The reality is that expensive metros attract people who are less likely to have kids, or who decide to do so later in life. Indeed, other research shows that many highly educated women are not having children in their 20s at all. It also could be that some educated households are moving out of these places when they decide to have kids. But the lower fertility rates of pricey cities are much more likely to reflect the edging out of less advantaged, less educated groups that traditionally have higher fertility rates. Fertility rates for Hispanic women aged 20 to 29 are quite a bit higher than for white women, at 154 births per 1,000 women, compared to 88.

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