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Born Without a Silver Spoon: Race, Wealth, and Unintended Childbearing

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  • Jessica Houston Su

    () (University at Buffalo – SUNY)

  • Fenaba R. Addo

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

The United States has a surprisingly high rate of unintended fertility, particularly among women of color. Although studies have examined socioeconomic correlates of unintended fertility, the role of economic resources remains unclear. Wealth may provide an important context for whether a birth was intended or unintended. Moreover, staggering racial wealth disparities may contribute to racial/ethnic patterns of unintended childbearing. This study examines the linkages between wealth and unintended first births, drawing on data from the NLSY79 (N = 1508). Results suggest that net wealth is negatively related to the probability of having an unintended first birth, controlling for a host of sociodemographic characteristics. We also use decomposition analysis to quantify wealth’s contribution to racial/ethnic disparities in unintended childbearing. Second only to marital status, differences in net wealth account for 9–17% of racial/ethnic disparities in unintended childbearing. Our results suggest that wealth is a significant and heretofore overlooked correlate of unintended childbearing.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Houston Su & Fenaba R. Addo, 2018. "Born Without a Silver Spoon: Race, Wealth, and Unintended Childbearing," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 600-615, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfamec:v:39:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10834-018-9577-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s10834-018-9577-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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