Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Coleman, Hannah. Can GDP Be Predictive of Fertility Rates in Sweden?. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Hannah Coleman 2022.


Fertility rates in a country vary and can be influenced by numerous different aspects of an individual’s life and the society in which they live. One aspect that may influence fertility rates at the national level is the gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is an indicator of a country’s economic productivity. Because fertility is linked to both economic development and individual resources, GDP may be a useful indicator of fertility rates. If so, knowing or predicting GDP could be used to project the fertility rates of a population years into the future. To determine if a reasonable connection between GDP and fertility rates exists, I analyzed the link between GDP and total fertility rate (TFR) in Sweden over the last six decades. Despite our expectation that GDP would be strongly linked to TFR, we found little correlation between the two over the long term. However, after accounting for long-term changes in both GDP and TFR, these variables are positively correlated in the short term. Nonetheless, the weak correlation and the higher volatility of GDP relative to TFR suggests that GDP would not be a reliable indicator of fertility rates overall.