Previous literature has shown that land use regulations influence where people choose to live within the U.S. by impacting housing prices. In this paper, we study the impact of these same regulations on another component of population growth, fertility rates. First, we employ a dataset on the stringency of land restrictions using court based measures created by Ganong and Shoag (2017). We add to this separate cross-sectional measures of land use regulations from the American Institute of Planners, the Wharton Urban Decentralization Project survey, and the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulation Index (WRLURI). Combining this data with fertility data from the CDC and the Survey of Epidemiology and End Results data, we explore the impact of land use regulations on fertility at both the state and county level. We find a significant negative relationship between land use restrictions and fertility rates across all measures and geographies. Specifically, we find that land use regulations reduce fertility rates for teens and women in their twenties while increasing the fertility rate for women in their thirties or older to a lesser degree.
“One Hundred Years of Zoning and the Future of Cities”