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Journal: Demography


A major component driving cross-country fertility differences in the developed world is differences in the probability of having additional children among those who have one. Why do people stop at having only one child? We hypothesize that the experience of the transition to parenthood is an important determinant of further fertility. Analyzing longitudinal data from Germany, we find that the experience during the transition to parenthood, as measured by changes in subjective well-being, predicts further parity progression. A drop in well-being surrounding first birth predicts a decreased likelihood of having another child. The association is particularly strong for older parents and those with higher education: these characteristics may be related to the ability or willingness to revise fertility plans based on prior experiences. Parents' experience with the first birth is an important and understudied factor in determining completed family size, and policy-makers concerned about low fertility should pay attention to factors that influence the well-being of new parents.

Concepts: Human Development Index, Empiricism, Pregnancy, Sociology, 2006 albums, Father, Mother, Family


The steep rise in U.S. criminal punishment in recent decades has spurred scholarship on the collateral consequences of imprisonment for individuals, families, and communities. Several excellent studies have estimated the number of people who have been incarcerated and the collateral consequences they face, but far less is known about the size and scope of the total U.S. population with felony convictions beyond prison walls, including those who serve their sentences on probation or in jail. This article develops state-level estimates based on demographic life tables and extends previous national estimates of the number of people with felony convictions to 2010. We estimate that 3 % of the total U.S. adult population and 15 % of the African American adult male population has ever been to prison; people with felony convictions account for 8 % of all adults and 33 % of the African American adult male population. We discuss the far-reaching consequences of the spatial concentration and immense growth of these groups since 1980.

Concepts: Punishment, Mathematics, Caribbean, United States, American Civil War, Prison, Felony, Criminal law


Recent empirical research questions the validity of using Malthusian theory in preindustrial England. Using real wage and vital rate data for the years 1650-1881, I provide empirical estimates for a different region: Northern Italy. The empirical methodology is theoretically underpinned by a simple Malthusian model, in which population, real wages, and vital rates are determined endogenously. My findings strongly support the existence of a Malthusian economy wherein population growth decreased living standards, which in turn influenced vital rates. However, these results also demonstrate how the system is best characterized as one of weak homeostasis. Furthermore, there is no evidence of Boserupian effects given that increases in population failed to spur any sustained technological progress.

Concepts: Working class, Demographic economics, Demography, Scientific method, Malthusian growth model, Empiricism, World population, Population


Using discrete-time survival models of parity progression and illustrative data from the Philippines, this article develops a multivariate multidimensional life table of nuptiality and fertility, the dimensions of which are age, parity, and duration in parity. The measures calculated from this life table include total fertility rate (TRF), total marital fertility rate (TMFR), parity progression ratios (PPR), age-specific fertility rates, mean and median ages at first marriage, mean and median closed birth intervals, and mean and median ages at childbearing by child’s birth order and for all birth orders combined. These measures are referred to collectively as “TFR and its components.” Because the multidimensional life table is multivariate, all measures derived from it are also multivariate in the sense that they can be tabulated by categories or selected values of one socioeconomic variable while controlling for other socioeconomic variables. The methodology is applied to birth history data, in the form of actual birth histories from a fertility survey or reconstructed birth histories derived from a census or household survey. The methodology yields period estimates as well as cohort estimates of the aforementioned measures.

Concepts: Marriage, Demographic-economic paradox, Fertility-development controversy, Population, Fertility, Total fertility rate, Demography


Every year, a large number of children in the United States enter the foster care system. Many of them are eventually reunited with their biological parents or quickly adopted. A significant number, however, face long-term foster care, and some of these children are eventually adopted by their foster parents. The decision by foster parents to adopt their foster child carries significant economic consequences, including forfeiting foster care payments while also assuming responsibility for medical, legal, and educational expenses, to name a few. Since 1980, U.S. states have begun to offer adoption subsidies to offset some of these expenses, significantly lowering the cost of adopting a child who is in the foster care system. This article presents empirical evidence of the role that these economic incentives play in foster parents' decision of when, or if, to adopt their foster child. We find that adoption subsidies increase adoptions through two distinct price mechanisms: by lowering the absolute cost of adoption, and by lowering the relative cost of adoption versus long-term foster care.

Concepts: Family law, Adoption, fostering, orphan care and displacement, Reactive attachment disorder, Foster care adoption, Foster care, Adoption


It has long been documented that married individuals have better health outcomes than unmarried individuals. However, this marital advantage paradigm has been developed primarily based on heterosexual populations. No studies to date have examined the health effects of marriage among bisexuals, one of the most disadvantaged but understudied sexual minority groups, although a few have shown mixed results for gays and lesbians. Similarly, no research has examined how the gender composition of a couple may shape bisexuals' health outcomes above and beyond the effects of sexual orientation. We analyzed pooled data from the 2013-2017 National Health Interview Survey (n = 154,485) and found that the health advantage of marriage applied only to heterosexuals and, to a lesser extent, gays and lesbians. Married bisexuals, however, exhibited poorer health than unmarried bisexuals when socioeconomic status and health behaviors were adjusted for. Moreover, bisexuals in same-gender unions were healthier than bisexuals in different-gender unions primarily because of their socioeconomic advantages and healthier behaviors. Together, our findings suggest that bisexuals, particularly those in different-gender unions, face unique challenges in their relationships that may reduce the health advantage associated with marriage.


This article describes trends in parental wealth homogamy among union cohorts formed between 1987 and 2013 in Denmark. Using high-quality register data on the wealth of parents during the year of partnering, we show that the correlation between partners' levels of parental wealth is considerably lower compared with estimates from research on other countries. Nonetheless, parental wealth homogamy is high at the very top of the parental wealth distribution, and individuals from wealthy families are relatively unlikely to partner with individuals from families with low wealth. Parental wealth correlations among partners are higher when only parental assets rather than net wealth are examined, implying that the former might be a better measure for studying many social stratification processes. Most specifications indicate that homogamy increased in the 2000s relative to the 1990s, but trends can vary depending on methodological choices. The increasing levels of parental wealth homogamy raise concerns that over time, partnering behavior has become more consequential for wealth inequality between couples.


Research studies and popular accounts of parenting have documented the joys and strains of raising children. Much of the literature comparing parents with those without children indicates a happiness advantage for those without children, although recent studies have unpacked this general advantage to reveal differences by the dimension of well-being considered and important features in parents' lives and parenting experiences. We use unique data from the 2010, 2012, and 2013 American Time Use Survey to understand emotions in mothering experiences and how these vary by key demographic factors: employment and partnership status. Assessing mothers' emotions in a broad set of parenting activities while controlling for a rich set of person- and activity-level factors, we find that mothering experiences are generally associated with high levels of emotional well-being, although single parenthood is associated with differences in the emotional valence. Single mothers report less happiness and more sadness, stress, and fatigue in parenting than partnered mothers, and these reports are concentrated among those single mothers who are not employed. Employed single mothers are happier and less sad and stressed when parenting than single mothers who are not employed. Contrary to common assumptions about maternal employment, we find overall few negative associations between employment and mothers' feelings regarding time with children, with the exception that employed mothers report more fatigue in parenting than those who are not employed.

Concepts: Personal life, Childhood, Depression, Feeling, Personality psychology, Happiness, Parent, Mother


In the first half of the twentieth century, the rate of death from infectious disease in the United States fell precipitously. Although this decline is well-known and well-documented, there is surprisingly little evidence about whether it took place uniformly across the regions of the United States. We use data on infectious disease deaths from all reporting U.S. cities to describe regional patterns in the decline of urban infectious mortality from 1900 to 1948. We report three main results. First, urban infectious mortality was higher in the South in every year from 1900 to 1948. Second, infectious mortality declined later in southern cities than in cities in the other regions. Third, comparatively high infectious mortality in southern cities was driven primarily by extremely high infectious mortality among African Americans. From 1906 to 1920, African Americans in cities experienced a rate of death from infectious disease that was greater than what urban whites experienced during the 1918 flu pandemic.


In many Latin American countries, census data on race and skin color are scarce or nonexistent. In this study, we contribute to understanding how skin color affects intergenerational social mobility in Mexico. Using a novel data set, we provide evidence of profound social stratification by skin color, even after controlling for specific individual characteristics that previous work has not been able to include, such as individual cognitive and noncognitive abilities, parental education and wealth, and measures of stress and parenting style in the home of origin. Results indicate that people in the lightest skin color category have an average of 1.4 additional years of schooling and 53 % more in hourly earnings than their darkest-skinned counterparts. Social mobility is also related to skin color. Individuals in the darkest category are 20 percentile ranks lower in the current wealth distribution than those in the lightest category, conditional on parental wealth. In addition, results of a quantile regression indicate that the darkest group shows higher downward mobility.