In this article, we use newly developed statistical methods to examine the generative processes that give rise to widespread patterns in friendship networks. The methods incorporate both traditional demographic measures on individuals (age, sex, and race) and network measures for structural processes operating on individual, dyadic, and triadic levels. We apply the methods to adolescent friendship networks in 59 U.S. schools from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We model friendship formation as a selection process constrained by individuals’ sociality (propensity to make friends), selective mixing in dyads (friendships within race, grade, or sex categories are differentially likely relative to cross-category friendships), and closure in triads (a friend’s friends are more likely to become friends), given local population composition. Blacks are generally the most cohesive racial category, although when whites are in the minority, they display stronger selective mixing than do blacks when blacks are in the minority. Hispanics exhibit disassortative selective mixing under certain circumstances; in other cases, they exhibit assortative mixing but lack the higher-order cohesion common in other groups. Grade levels are always highly cohesive, while females form triangles more than males. We conclude with a discussion of how network analysis may contribute to our understanding of sociodemographic structure and the processes that create it.
Although much research has focused on how imprisonment transforms the life course of disadvantaged black men, researchers have paid little attention to how parental imprisonment alters the social experience of childhood. This article estimates the risk of parental imprisonment by age 14 for black and white children born in 1978 and 1990. This article also estimates the risk of parental imprisonment for children whose parents did not finish high school, finished high school only, or attended college. Results show the following: (1) 1 in 40 white children born in 1978 and 1 in 25 white children born in 1990 had a parent imprisoned; (2) 1 in 7 black children born in 1978 and 1 in 4 black children born in 1990 had a parent imprisoned; (3) inequality in the risk of parental imprisonment between white children of college-educated parents and all other children is growing; and (4) by age 14, 50.5% of black children born in 1990 to high school dropouts had a father imprisoned. These estimates, robustness checks, and extensions to longitudinal data indicate that parental imprisonment has emerged as a novel—and distinctively American—childhood risk that is concentrated among black children and children of low-education parents.
The premise that unintended childbearing has significant negative effects on the behavior of mothers and on the health of infants strongly influences public health policy and much of current research on reproductive behaviors. Yet, the evidence base presents mixed findings. Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, we employ a measure of pregnancy intentions that incorporates the extent of mistiming, as well as the desire scale developed by Santelli et al. (Studies in Family Planning, 40, 87-100, 2009). Second, we examine variation in the characteristics of mothers within intention status groups. Third, we account for the association of mothers' background characteristics with their pregnancy intentions and with the outcomes by employing propensity score weighting. We find that weighting eliminated statistical significance of many observed associations of intention status with maternal behaviors and birth outcomes, but not all. Mistimed and unwanted births were still less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy than intended ones. Fewer unwanted births received early prenatal care or were breast-fed, and unwanted births were also more likely than intended births to be of low birth weight. Relative to births at the highest level of the desire scale, all other births were significantly less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy and to receive early prenatal care.
Using data from the 2003—2007 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS), we compare mothers' (N = 6,640) time spent in four parenting activities across maternal education and child age subgroups. We test the hypothesis that highly educated mothers not only spend more time in active child care than less-educated mothers but also alter the composition of that time to suit children's developmental needs more than less-educated mothers. Results support this hypothesis: not only do highly educated mothers invest more time in basic care and play when youngest children are infants or toddlers than when children are older, but differences across education groups in basic care and play time are largest among mothers with infants or toddlers; by contrast, highly educated mothers invest more time in management activities when children are 6 to 13 years old than when children are younger, and differences across education groups in management are largest among mothers with school-aged children. These patterns indicate that the education gradient in mothers' time with children is characterized by a "developmental gradient."
Parental spending on children is often presumed to be one of the main ways that parents invest in children and a main reason why children from wealthier households are advantaged. Yet, although research has tracked changes in the other main form of parental investment—namely, time—there is little research on spending. We use data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey to examine how spending changed from the early 1970s to the late 2000s, focusing particularly on inequality in parental investment in children. Parental spending increased, as did inequality of investment. We also investigate shifts in the composition of spending and linkages to children's characteristics. Investment in male and female children changed substantially: households with only female children spent significantly less than parents in households with only male children in the early 1970s; but by the 1990s, spending had equalized; and by the late 2000s, girls appeared to enjoy an advantage. Finally, the shape of parental investment over the course of children's lives changed. Prior to the 1990s, parents spent most on children in their teen years. After the 1990s, however, spending was greatest when children were under the age of 6 and in their mid-20s.
This article critically evaluates the available data on trends in divorce in the United States. We find that both vital statistics and retrospective survey data on divorce after 1990 underestimate recent marital instability. These flawed data have led some analysts to conclude that divorce has been stable or declining for the past three decades. Using new data from the American Community Survey and controlling for changes in the age composition of the married population, we conclude that there was actually a substantial increase in age-standardized divorce rates between 1990 and 2008. Divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons over age 35. Among the youngest couples, however, divorce rates are stable or declining. If current trends continue, overall age-standardized divorce rates could level off or even decline over the next few decades. We argue that the leveling of divorce among persons born since 1980 probably reflects the increasing selectivity of marriage.
High rates of incarceration among American men, coupled with high rates of fatherhood among men in prison, have motivated recent research on the effects of parental imprisonment on children's development. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the relationship between paternal incarceration and developmental outcomes for approximately 3,000 urban children. We estimate cross-sectional and longitudinal regression models that control not only for fathers' basic demographic characteristics and a rich set of potential confounders, but also for several measures of pre-incarceration child development and family fixed effects. We find significant increases in aggressive behaviors and some evidence of increased attention problems among children whose fathers are incarcerated. The estimated effects of paternal incarceration are stronger than those of other forms of father absence, suggesting that children with incarcerated fathers may require specialized support from caretakers, teachers, and social service providers. The estimated effects are stronger for children who lived with their fathers prior to incarceration but are also significant for children of nonresident fathers, suggesting that incarceration places children at risk through family hardships including and beyond parent-child separation.
This article updates trends from five national U.S. surveys to determine whether the prevalence of activity limitations among the older population continued to decline in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Findings across studies suggest that personal care and domestic activity limitations may have continued to decline for those ages 85 and older from 2000 to 2008, but generally were flat since 2000 for those ages 65-84. Modest increases were observed for the 55- to 64-year-old group approaching late life, although prevalence remained low for this age group. Inclusion of the institutional population is important for assessing trends among those ages 85 and older in particular.
In this article, we test for four potential explanations of the Hispanic Health Paradox (HHP): the "salmon bias," emigration selection, and sociocultural protection originating in either destination or sending country. To reduce biases related to attrition by return migration typical of most U.S.-based surveys, we combine data from the Mexican Health and Aging Study in Mexico and the U. S. National Health Interview Survey to compare self-reported diabetes, hypertension, current smoking, obesity, and self-rated health among Mexican-born men ages 50 and older according to their previous U.S. migration experience, and U.S.-born Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites. We also use height, a measure of health during childhood, to bolster some of our tests. We find an immigrant advantage relative to non-Hispanic whites in hypertension and, to a lesser extent, obesity. We find evidence consistent with emigration selection and the salmon bias in height, hypertension, and self-rated health among immigrants with less than 15 years of experience in the United States; we do not find conclusive evidence consistent with sociocultural protection mechanisms. Finally, we illustrate that although ignoring return migrants when testing for the HHP and its mechanisms, as well as for the association between U.S. experience and health, exaggerates these associations, they are not fully driven by return migration-related attrition.
Studies of the early-life origins of adult physical functioning and mortality have found that childhood health and socioeconomic context are important predictors, often irrespective of adult experiences. However, these studies have generally assessed functioning and mortality as distinct processes and used cross-sectional prevalence estimates that neglect the interplay of disability incidence, recovery, and mortality. Here, we examine whether early-life disadvantages both shorten lives and increase the number and fraction of years lived with functional impairment. We also examine the degree to which educational attainment mediates and moderates the health consequences of early-life disadvantages. Using the 1998-2008 Health and Retirement Study, we examine these questions for non-Hispanic whites and blacks aged 50-100 years using multistate life tables. Within levels of educational attainment, adults from disadvantaged childhoods lived fewer total and active years, and spent a greater portion of life impaired compared with adults from advantaged childhoods. Higher levels of education did not ameliorate the health consequences of disadvantaged childhoods. However, because education had a larger impact on health than did childhood socioeconomic context, adults from disadvantaged childhoods who achieved high education levels often had total and active life expectancies that were similar to or better than those of adults from advantaged childhoods who achieved low education levels.
Understanding how having children influences parents' subjective well-being ("happiness") has great potential to explain fertility behavior. We study parental happiness trajectories before and after the birth of a child, using large British and German longitudinal data sets. We account for unobserved parental characteristics using fixed-effects models and study how sociodemographic factors modify the parental happiness trajectories. Consistent with existing work, we find that happiness increases in the years around the birth of a first child and then decreases to before-child levels. Moreover, happiness increases before birth, suggesting that the trajectories may capture not only the effect of the birth but also the broader process of childbearing, which may include partnership formation and quality. Sociodemographic factors strongly modify this pattern. Those who have children at older ages or who have more education have a particularly positive happiness response to a first birth; and although having the first two children increases happiness, having a third child does not. The results, which are similar in Britain and Germany, suggest that having up to two children increases happiness, and mostly for those who have postponed childbearing. This pattern is consistent with the fertility behavior that emerged during the second demographic transition and provides new insights into low and late fertility.
This article explores patterns and determinants of immigrant segregation for 10 immigrant groups in established, new, and minor destination areas. Using a group-specific typology of metropolitan destinations, this study finds that without controls for immigrant-group and metropolitan-level characteristics, immigrants in new destinations are more segregated and immigrants in minor destinations considerably more segregated than their counterparts in established destinations. Neither controls for immigrant-group acculturation or socioeconomic status nor those for demographic, housing, and economic features of metropolitan areas can fully account for the heightened levels of segregation observed in new and minor destinations. Overall, the results offer support for arguments that a diverse set of immigrant groups face challenges to residential incorporation in the new areas of settlement.
The idea of a generation of young adults "boomeranging" back to the parental home has gained widespread currency in the British popular press. However, there is little empirical research identifying either increasing rates of returning home or the factors associated with this trend. This article addresses this gap in the literature using data from a long-running household panel survey to examine the occurrence and determinants of returning to the parental home. We take advantage of the longitudinal design of the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and situate returning home in the context of other life-course transitions. We demonstrate how turning points in an individual's life course—such as leaving full-time education, unemployment, or partnership dissolution—are key determinants of returning home. An increasingly unpredictable labor market means that employment cannot be taken for granted following university graduation, and returning home upon completion of higher education is becoming normative. We also find that gender moderates the relationship among partnership dissolution, parenthood, and returning to the parental home, reflecting the differential welfare support in Great Britain for single parents compared with nonresident fathers and childless young adults.
The study of intergenerational mobility and most population research are governed by a two-generation (parent-to-offspring) view of intergenerational influence, to the neglect of the effects of grandparents and other ancestors and nonresident contemporary kin. While appropriate for some populations in some periods, this perspective may omit important sources of intergenerational continuity of family-based social inequality. Social institutions, which transcend individual lives, help support multigenerational influence, particularly at the extreme top and bottom of the social hierarchy, but to some extent in the middle as well. Multigenerational influence also works through demographic processes because families influence subsequent generations through differential fertility and survival, migration, and marriage patterns, as well as through direct transmission of socioeconomic rewards, statuses, and positions. Future research should attend more closely to multigenerational effects; to the tandem nature of demographic and socioeconomic reproduction; and to data, measures, and models that transcend coresident nuclear families.
High U.S. incarceration rates have motivated recent research on the negative effects of imprisonment on later employment, earnings, and family relationships. Because most men in jail and prison are fathers, a large number of children may be placed at considerable risk by policies of incarceration. This article examines one dimension of the economic risk faced by children of incarcerated fathers: the reduction in the financial support that they receive. We use a population-based sample of urban children to examine the effects of incarceration on this support. Both crosssectional and longitudinal regressions indicate that formerly incarcerated men are less likely to contribute to their families, and those who do contribute provide significantly less. The negative effects of incarceration on fathers' financial support are due not only to the low earnings of formerly incarcerated men but also to their increased likelihood to live apart from their children. Men contribute far less through child support (formal or informal) than they do when they share their earnings within their household, suggesting that the destabilizing effects of incarceration on family relationships place children at significant economic disadvantage.
It is well documented that immigrants are in better health upon arrival in the United States than their American counterparts but that this health advantage erodes over time. We study the potential determinants of this "healthy immigrant effect, " with a particular focus on the tendency of immigrants to converge to unhealthy American BMI levels. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, we find that average female and male immigrants enter the United States with BMIs that are approximately two and five percentage points lower than native-born women and men, respectively. Consistent with the declining health status of immigrants the longer they remain in the United States, we also find that female immigrants almost completely converge to American BMls within 10 years of arrival, and men close a third of the gap within 15 years.
Over the next generation or two, America's older, largely white population will increasingly be replaced by today's disproportionately poor minority children. All future growth will come from populations other than non-Hispanic whites as America moves toward a majority-minority society by 2043. This so-called Third Demographic Transition raises important implications about changing racial boundaries in the United States, that is, about the physical, economic, and sociocultural barriers that separate different racial and ethnic groups. America's racial transformation may place upward demographic pressure on future poverty and inequality as today's disproportionately poor and minority children grow into adult roles. Racial boundaries will be reshaped by the changing meaning of race and ethnicity, shifting patterns of racial segregation in neighborhoods and the workplace, newly integrating (or not) friendship networks, and changing rates of interracial marriage and childbearing. The empirical literature provides complicated lessons and offers few guarantees that growing racial diversity will lead to a corresponding breakdown in racial boundaries—that whites and minorities will increasingly share the same physical and social spaces or interact as coequals. How America's older population of elected officials and taxpayers responds today to America's increasingly diverse population will provide a window to the future, when today's children successfully transition (or not) into productive adult roles. Racial and ethnic inclusion will be reshaped by changing ethnoracial inequality, which highlights the need to invest in children—now.
The educational gradient in life expectancy is well documented in the United States and in other low-mortality countries. Highly educated Americans, on average, live longer than their low-educated counterparts, who have recently seen declines in adult life expectancy. However, limiting the discussion on lifespan inequality to mean differences alone overlooks other dimensions of inequality and particularly disparities in lifespan variation. The latter represents a unique form of inequality, with higher variation translating into greater uncertainty in the time of death from an individual standpoint, and higher group heterogeneity from a population perspective. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System from 1990 to 2010, this is the first study to document trends in both life expectancy and S25—the standard deviation of age at death above 25—by educational attainment. Among low-educated whites, adult life expectancy declined by 3.1 years for women and by 0.6 years for men. At the same time, S25 increased by about 1.5 years among high school–educated whites of both genders, becoming an increasingly important component of total lifespan inequality. By contrast, college-educated whites benefited from rising life expectancy and record low variation in age at death, consistent with the shifting mortality scenario. Among blacks, adult life expectancy increased, and S25 plateaued or declined in nearly all educational attainment groups, although blacks generally lagged behind whites of the same gender on both measures. Documenting trends in lifespan variation can therefore improve our understanding of lifespan inequality and point to diverging trajectories in adult mortality across socioeconomic strata.
We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to consider the effects of maternal incarceration on 21 caregiver-and teacher-reported behavioral problems among 9-year-old children. The results suggest three primary conclusions. First, children of incarcerated mothers are a disadvantaged group that exhibit high levels of caregiver-and teacher-reported behavioral problems. Second, after we adjust for selection, the effects of maternal incarceration on children's behavioral problems are consistently null (for 19 of 21 outcomes) and rarely positive (1 of 21) or negative (1 of 21), suggesting that the poor outcomes of these children are driven by disadvantages preceding maternal incarceration rather than incarceration. These effects, however, vary across race/ethnicity, with maternal incarceration diminishing caregiverreported behavioral problems among non-Hispanic whites. Finally, in models considering both maternal and paternal incarceration, paternal incarceration is associated with more behavioral problems, which is consistent with previous research and suggests that the null effects of maternal incarceration are not artifacts of our sample or analytic decisions.
Fatherhood has traditionally been viewed as part of a "package deal" in which a father's relationship with his child is contingent on his relationship with the mother. We evaluate the accuracy of this hypothesis in light of the high rates of multiple-partner fertility among unmarried parents using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a recent longitudinal survey of nonmarital births in large cities. We examine whether unmarried mothers' and fathers' subsequent relationship and parenting transitions are associated with declines in fathers' contact with their nonresident biological children. We find that father involvement drops sharply after relationships between unmarried parents end. Mothers' transitions into new romantic partnerships and new parenting roles are associated with larger declines in involvement than fathers' transitions. Declines in fathers' involvement following a mother's relationship or parenting transition are largest when children are young. We discuss the implications of our results for the well-being of nonmarital children and the quality of nonmarital relationships faced with high levels of relationship instability and multiple-partner fertiliy.