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What Are the Determinants of Delayed Childbearing and Permanent Childlessness in the United States?


Author Info

  • David E. Bloom
  • James Trussell


This paper presents estimates of delayed childbearing and permanent childlessness in the United States and the determinants of those phenomena.The estimates are derived by fitting the Coale-McNeil marriage model to survey data on age at first birth and by letting the parameters of the model depend on covariates. Substantively, the results provide evidence that the low first birth fertility rates experienced in the 1970's were due to both delayed childbearing and to increasing levels of permanent childlessness. The results also indicate that (a) delayed childbearing is less prevalent among blackwomen than among non-black women, (b) education and labor force participation are important determinants of delayed childbearing, (c) the influence of education and labor force participation on delayed childbearing seems to beincreasing across cohorts, (d) education is positively associated with heterogeneity among women in their age at first birth, (d) the dispersion of age at first birth is increasing across cohorts, (f) race has an insignificant effecton childlessness, and (g) education is positively associated with childlessness, with the effect of education increasing and reaching strikingly highlevels for the most recent cohorts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1140.

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Date of creation: Jun 1983
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bloom, David E. and James Trussell. "What Are the Determinants of Delayed Childbearing and Permanent Childlessness in the United States?" Demography ,November 1984, 21(4) pp. 591-611.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1140

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Gruber & Maria Owings, 1996. "Physician Financial Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 99-123, Spring.


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