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The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing

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  • Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio
  • Simonsen, Marianne

Abstract

In this paper we study the impact of fertility on the overall wellbeing of mothers First, using US Census data for the year 1980, we study the impact of number of children on family arrangements, welfare participation and poverty status. Second, using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1982-2003, we study the impact on a series of health risk factors. The findings reveal, first, that a raise in family size increases the likelihood of marital breakdown measured by the likelihood of divorce or the likelihood of the mother not living with the children’s father. Second, we find evidence that mothers facing an increase in family size are not only more likely to live with other family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, they are also more likely to receive help from welfare programs. Third, consistent with an increase in welfare participation, families (mothers) are more likely to fall below the poverty line, and they face a reduction in total family income. The results using NHIS confirm a negative impact of fertility on marriage stability and an increase in welfare participation measured by an increase in the likelihood of using Medicaid and for some samples a reduction in the take-up of private health insurance. Finally, we find evidence that a shock in fertility increases the likelihood for mothers to suffer from high blood pressure during the last 12 months and also increases the propensity to smoke and risk of being obese

Suggested Citation

  • Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing," UC3M Working papers. Economics we100603, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we100603
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. McCord, Gordon C. & Conley, Dalton & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 2017. "Malaria ecology, child mortality & fertility," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-17.
    2. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2014. "Life Events and Subjective Well-being: The Case of Having Children," IZA Discussion Papers 8207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Kruk, Eberhard, 2011. "The Effect of Children on Depression in Old Age," MEA discussion paper series 11249, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    4. Onipede Wusu & Emmanuel O. Amoo, 2016. "Fertility Behaviour and Wealth Situation in Nigeria: Evidence from 2013 Demographic and Health Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 1-14, August.
    5. Kruk, Kai Eberhard & Reinhold, Steffen, 2014. "The effect of children on depression in old age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 1-11.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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