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Shifting Childrearing to Single Mothers: Results from 17 Western Countries

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  • Patrick Heuveline
  • Jeffrey M. Timberlake
  • Frank F. Furstenberg

Abstract

We investigate how recent changes in the Western family have affected childhood living arrangements. For 17 developed countries, we use multistate life table techniques to estimate childhood trajectories of coresi-dence with biological fathers versus other maternal partners. In all countries childhood exposure to single parenting is more often caused by parental separation than out-of-partnership childbearing. Both exposure to single parenting and expectancy of childhood spent with a single non-cohabiting mother vary widely across countries, with the United States exhibiting the highest levels of each at early 1990s rates. The greatest international variations concern parental cohabitation-its prevalence, durability, and the degree to which its increase has compensated for a decrease in the expectancy of childhood spent with married parents. Overall, we find little evidence of international convergence in childrearing arrangements, except that in countries where parental marriage has declined over time, childrearing has predominantly shifted to single mothers. Copyright 2003 by The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:29:y:2003:i:1:p:47-71
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Brienna Perelli-Harris & Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Michaela Kreyenfeld & Trude Lappegård & Caroline Berghammer & Renske Keizer, 2010. "The educational gradient of nonmarital childbearing in Europe: emergence of a pattern of disadvantage?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-004, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. repec:spr:eurpop:v:33:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9421-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jarl E. Mooyaart & Aart C. Liefbroer, 2016. "The Influence of Parental Education on Timing and Type of Union Formation: Changes Over the Life Course and Over Time in the Netherlands," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 885-919, August.
    5. Cosmin Enache, 2013. "Family and Childcare Support Public Expenditures and Short-Term Fertility Dynamics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(3), pages 347-364, May.
    6. Frances Goldscheider & Eva Bernhardt & Trude Lappegård, 2015. "The Gender Revolution: A Framework for Understanding Changing Family and Demographic Behavior," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(2), pages 207-239, June.
    7. Jenna Nobles, 2013. "Migration and Father Absence: Shifting Family Structure in Mexico," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1303-1314, August.
    8. Christine Schnor, 2014. "The Effect of Union Status at First Childbirth on Union Stability: Evidence from Eastern and Western Germany," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(2), pages 129-160, May.
    9. Zsolt Spéder, 2007. "The diversity of Family structure in Europe: A survey on partnership, parenting and childhood across Europe around the millenium," Demográfia English Edition, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, vol. 50(5), pages 105-134.
    10. Christoph Eder & Martin Halla, 2017. "Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy," Working Papers 2017-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    11. Patrick Heuveline & Matthew Weinshenker, 2006. "The International Child Poverty Gap: Does Demography Matter?," LIS Working papers 441, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. Jacinda Dariotis & Joseph Pleck & Nan Astone & Freya Sonenstein, 2011. "Pathways of Early Fatherhood, Marriage, and Employment: A Latent Class Growth Analysis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 593-623, May.
    13. Brienna Perelli-Harris, 2014. "How Similar are Cohabiting and Married Parents? Second Conception Risks by Union Type in the United States and Across Europe," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(4), pages 437-464, November.
    14. Juho Härkönen, 2017. "Diverging destinies in international perspective: Education, single motherhood, and child poverty," LIS Working papers 713, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    15. Teresa Castro Martín, 2010. "Single motherhood and low birthweight in Spain," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(27), pages 863-890, May.
    16. Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2008. "Does community property discourage unpartnered births?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-40, March.
    17. Elizabeth Thomson & Helen Eriksson, 2013. "Register-based estimates of parents' coresidence in Sweden, 1969-2007," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(42), pages 1153-1186, December.
    18. Laurie C. Maldonado & Rense Nieuwenhuis, 2014. "Family Policies and Single Parent Poverty in 18 OECD Countries, 1978-2008," LIS Working papers 622, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    19. Patrick Heuveline & Matthew Weinshenker, 2008. "The international child poverty gap: Does Demography matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(1), pages 173-191, February.
    20. Juho Härkönen, 2017. "Single-mother poverty: how much do educational differences in single motherhood matter?," LIS Working papers 714, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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