Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Demographic Analysis of the Family Structure Experiences of Children in the United States

Contents:

Author Info

  • Blau, David M.

    ()
    (Ohio State University)

  • van der Klaauw, Wilbert

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Abstract

This paper provides a comprehensive demographic analysis of the family structure experiences of children in the U.S. Childbearing and transitions among co-residential union states defined by single, cohabiting, and married are analyzed jointly. A novel contribution is to distinguish men by their relationship to children: biological father or stepfather. This distinction is rarely made when analyzing union formation, but it is critical for understanding the family structure experiences of children. The analysis uses data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79). The results are used to address the following issues: (1) What fraction of their childhood do children spend with the biological father, stepfathers, and no father? (2) How do these fractions vary by the mother’s marital status at the time of the child’s birth and at the time of the child’s conception? (3) How do the family structure experiences of the children of white, black, and Hispanic mothers differ, and what are the proximate demographic determinants of these differences? A key finding is that children of black mothers spend on average only 34.1% of their childhood living with the biological father and mother, compared to 72.8% for whites and 64.1% for Hispanics. The two most important proximate demographic determinants of this large racial gap are the much higher propensity of black women to conceive children outside of a union, and the lower rate of “shotgun” unions for blacks compared to whites and Hispanics. Another notable finding is that cohabitation plays a negligible role in the family structure experiences of children of white and Hispanic mothers, and even for children of black mothers accounts for only one fifth of time spent living with both biological parents. Finally, we find that children of black, Hispanic, and white mothers spend similar proportions of their lives with stepfathers present, but this similarity masks a much higher stepfather “turnover” rate among blacks, who are more likely than the other groups to experience a larger number of shorter spells with different stepfathers.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3001.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3001.

as in new window
Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics of the Household, 2008, 6 (3), 193-221
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3001

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information:
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:

Related research

Keywords: cohabitation; marriage; family structure; race; ethnicity;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," NBER Working Papers 12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Patrick Heuveline & Jeffrey M. Timberlake & Frank F. Furstenberg, 2003. "Shifting Childrearing to Single Mothers: Results from 17 Western Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(1), pages 47-71.
  3. David Blau & Wilbert Klaauw, 2008. "A demographic analysis of the family structure experiences of children in the United States," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 193-221, September.
  4. Wendy Sigle-Rushton & John Hobcraft & Kathleen Kiernan, 2005. "Parental divorce and subsequent disadvantage: A cross-cohort comparison," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 427-446, August.
  5. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
  6. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
  7. Larry Bumpass & R. Raley & James Sweet, 1995. "The changing character of stepfamilies: implications of cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 425-436, August.
  8. Gunnar Andersson, 2002. "Children's experience of family disruption and family formation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 7(7), pages 343-364, August.
  9. Andrew Cherlin, 1999. "Going to extremes: Family structure, children’s well-being, and social science," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 421-428, November.
  10. Lisa Gennetian, 2005. "One or two parents? Half or step siblings? The effect of family structure on young children's achievement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 415-436, 09.
  11. Wei-Jun J. Yeung & Greg J. Duncan & Martha S. Hill, 2001. "Childhood family structure and young adult behaviors," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 271-299.
  12. Marcia Carlson & Sara Mclanahan & Paula England, 2004. "Union formation in fragile families," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 237-261, May.
  13. Deborah Roempke Graefe & Daniel Lichter, 1999. "Life course transitions of American children: Parental cohabitation, marriage, and single motherhood," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 205-217, May.
  14. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Hillard & Linda Waite, . "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Non-Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 97-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  15. R. Raley, 2001. "Increasing fertility in cohabiting unions: evidence for the second demographic transition in the united states?," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 59-66, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. DAVID M. BLAU & WILBERT van der KLAAUW, 2013. "What Determines Family Structure?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 579-604, 01.
  2. David Blau & Wilbert Klaauw, 2008. "A demographic analysis of the family structure experiences of children in the United States," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 193-221, September.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.