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Race Differences in Cohort Effects on Nonmarital Fertility in the United States


  • Joe A. Stone
  • JoAnnaGray

    (University of Oregon Economics Department)


We employ newly developed methods to disentangle age, period and cohort effects on nonmarital fertility ratios (NFRs) from 1972 to 2002 for black and white women aged 20-44 in the United States. We focus on three cohort factors: family structure, school enrollment, and the sex ratio. For both blacks and whites, cohorts with less traditional family structures have higher NFRs. Other results differ by race. The impact of school enrollment on NFRs is significantly negative for whites, but significantly positive for blacks. The impact of sex ratio is significantly negative for blacks, but insignificant for whites. If black women and white women had cohort characteristics typical of the other group, age-specific NFRs for black women would decline markedly, while those for whites would increase markedly. Classification-JEL: JEL Categories: J12, J13, I38

Suggested Citation

  • Joe A. Stone & JoAnnaGray, 2008. "Race Differences in Cohort Effects on Nonmarital Fertility in the United States," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2008-5, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2008-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2000. "Welfare Benefits and Female Headship in U.S. Time Series," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 373-377, May.
    2. Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 2001. "The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 529-545, June.
    3. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    4. Herbert Smith & Phillips Cutright, 1988. "Thinking about change in illegitimacy ratios: United States, 1963–1983," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(2), pages 235-247, May.
    5. Dawn Upchurch & Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 2002. "Nonmarital childbearing: Influences of education, marriage, and fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(2), pages 311-329, May.
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    More about this item


    cohort marriage; birth rates; nonmarital fertility; education; welfare;

    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
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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