The Effect of Minimum Wages on Adolescent Fertility: A Nationwide Analysis

Am J Public Health. 2017 Mar;107(3):447-452. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303604. Epub 2017 Jan 19.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of minimum wage laws on adolescent birth rates in the United States.

Methods: I used a difference-in-differences approach and vital statistics data measured quarterly at the state level from 2003 to 2014. All models included state covariates, state and quarter-year fixed effects, and state-specific quarter-year nonlinear time trends, which provided plausibly causal estimates of the effect of minimum wage on adolescent birth rates.

Results: A $1 increase in minimum wage reduces adolescent birth rates by about 2%. The effects are driven by non-Hispanic White and Hispanic adolescents.

Conclusions: Nationwide, increasing minimum wages by $1 would likely result in roughly 5000 fewer adolescent births annually.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Birth Rate / ethnology*
  • Birth Rate / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / trends*
  • United States