#SOTD 80: Contrast with the right norms (Data on global fertility rates)

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#SOTD 80: Contrast with the right norms (Data on global fertility rates)

Whenever you have a surprising finding, you have the seed of a story. And if there are several surprising findings, then boy, do we have ourselves a compelling narrative!

For instance, take this case study. For decades, the received wisdom on fertility was:

  • Richer countries have low/lowering fertility. This is driven by several factors: healthcare facilities improve, families become nuclear reducing caregiver options, busy careers parents don’t want too many kids etc.
  • Also, as more women enter the workforce, fertility rates drop

Both of these are being upturned now, with some fascinating new evidence. These have been shared by Matthias Doepke a Faculty of Economics at Northwestern University, Illinois in a recent tweet thread.

Here’s the first surprising finding:

Source: Twitter

Finding #2:

Source: Twitter

What are the factors leading to higher fertility among richer nations with more working women?

One of them is better government support for early childcare and preschool:

And another reason: (Ahem) Men providing more support in housework:

Here are some simple data storytelling principles used in the tweet thread:

  • Clear messages on the top of each chart/s
  • Finding the right norm – going back in time to 1980 to make the relevant comparison (longer-term perspectives can be fascinating)
  • Using simple charts (and consistent scales, marking etc.) to drive clarity

Here’s the full paper from which these findings have been shared.

#SOTD 80

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