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Family Size and Family Structure. Appendix: Trends in Births and Births Rates . Today’s Questions. Are poor families poor because they have too many members (babies)? Would they be non-poor if they had fewer members?

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Family size and family structure l.jpg

Family Size and Family Structure

Appendix:

Trends in Births and Births Rates


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Today’s Questions

  • Are poor families poor because they have too many members (babies)?

    • Would they be non-poor if they had fewer members?

  • Are poor families poor because they fail to maintain stable families? Would there be fewer poor families if:

    • There were fewer divorces

    • More marriages among parents?


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Are poor families poor because they have too many members?

  • What we know:

    • the risk of being in poverty rises with family size!

    • Large, single parent families account for a disproportionate share of the long-term poor

  • The temptation:

    • To conclude that large families would not be poor if they were smaller.


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Are poor families poor because they have too many members?, cont.

  • Would they be non-poor if they had fewer babies?

    • No! Research shows thatmost large families “were in or near poverty prior to a change in family size.” (p. 138)

  • Behind the research findings

    • How were the studies that investigated this question designed?

    • What data bases were examined?

    • Describe the nature of the data?


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Not so fast my friend--

  • large family size may not be linked to the beginning of poverty spells, but it may

    • deepen and prolong poverty.

    • further, growing up in a large, single parent family may contribute to multi-generational poverty.


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Are poor families poor because they fail to maintain stable families?

What we know:

  • In the 1960’s, most poor children lived in two-parent families.

  • In 1999, 57% of poor children lived in families headed by single females.

  • Poverty rates for children rose from 15.6% percent in 1968 to 22.7% in 1993 and then fell to 16.2% in 2000. The current rate is 18.0%.


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Are poor families poor because they fail to maintain stable families?, cont.

What we know:

  • Half the rise in child poverty over the 1980s is attributable to shifts in the child population from married-coupled families to female-headed families.

    • (The work of Darity and Myers, and Wilson and Neckerman is important for our understanding for the increasing number of families headed by single females).

  • Single-parent families of all races are at much greater risk of living in poverty.

    • Why?


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Are poor families poor because they fail to maintain stable families?, cont.

  • The temptation:

    • To conclude that families would not be poor if parents were married.

  • Is this true?

    • Would there be fewer poor families if divorce rates fell?

    • Would poverty rates be lower if fewer women had babies outside marriage?

    • Would their be fewer poor families if single mothers married their children’s father?


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a. Would there be fewer poor families if divorce rates fell?

  • No. Divorce is not the primary culprit

  • Duncan and Morgan (PSID longitudinal study)

    • 20% of families experiencing divorce fell into poverty--not enough to explain trends

    • Average income status loss was only 6%

  • Bane (PSID longitudinal study)

    • Majority of poor white female-heads were not poor before divorce

    • Only 1/3 of poor, divorced, black female-heads were not poor before divorce


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Reverse the direction of Causality (fewer divorces if less poverty?):

  • Average family income is positively correlated with family stability

  • Schiller concludes that, “the relationship between family status and poverty is best described as dynamic. Continued economic deprivation is likely to undermine a family’s stability. . . Family breakup was only marginally responsible for existing poverty.”


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b. Would poverty rates be lower if fewer women had babies outside marriage?

  • Danziger and Gottshalk (p. 133)

    • If family composition had not changed since 1968, poverty rates would be:

      • I/3 less among blacks

      • I/5 less among whites

  • Lerman & Smith

    • “the surge in female-headed families completely explains the increase in childhood poverty since 1968.” (p. 133)


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Would poverty rates be lower if fewer women had babies outside marriage?, cont

In contrast,

  • Bane:

    • Births caused only 8% of poverty spells

  • Sister studies

    (Geronimus and Korenman; Hotz, Sanders, and McElroy)

    • Teen mothers and their sisters and economically indistinguishable in the mid-twenties. (p. 137)


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Would poverty rates be lower if fewer women had babies outside marriage?, cont

  • Schiller concludes that “. . . factors other than early childbirth are the primary cause of high poverty rates,” among never-married mothers. (p. 137)

    • Think about the trio’s situation in Milwaukee. Does their experience challenge or support this line of argument?


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c. Would their be fewer poor families if single mothers married their children’s fathers?

  • To answer this question it would be useful to have a socioeconomic profile of the fathers. It might help to ask think about the benefits of marriage to Angie, Jewell, and Opal.

  • What are the prospects of finding a marriageable man?


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Are government policies responsible in part for the research findings?

  • Do our policies encourage (reward) or discourage (punish)

    • Large family size?

    • Having children outside of marriage?

    • Marriages between single parents?

  • Do we support poor women who want to have children?


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The cost of raising children

  • Suppose we wanted do to more to discourage poor women and men from having more children than they can afford?

    • How would we determine how many children an adult could afford?

  • How much money should an adult have in order to qualify for parenthood?

    See, Jencks and Edin, Do Poor Women have a Right to Bear Children? http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=5042


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The cost of raising children, cont.

  • Alternative estimates

    • Poverty Line

    • Edin and Lein estimate

    • USDA cost of having children

      • Go to

      • http://www.moneycentral.msn.com/articles/family/kids/tlkidscost.asp#single, or http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/businessmanagement/DF5899.html and cost out Angie’s children!


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Appendix

  • I will not have time to review the following slides in class. Nevertheless, I am including them so that you will familiarize yourself with the terms and trends that are often used in public debate regarding births and abortions.


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What is a birth rate?

  • The number of births born per 1,000 women. Can be calculated for all women and for subgroups (j) defined by race, marital status, and occupation for example.

  • BR=Number of birthsj/number of womenj

    where subscript j denotes the jth subgroup.


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Changes in birth rates

  • Falling birth rates can be explained by declining numbers of births and/or increasing membership in the subgroup.

    • Falling birth rates do not necessarily imply a decrease in the number of births.

  • Rising birth rates can be explained by increasing numbers of births and/or decreasing membership in the group.

    • Rising birth rates do not necessarily imply an increase in the number of births.


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What is a fertility rate?

  • The total fertility rate is the number of births that 1,000 women would have in their lifetime if, at each year of age, they experience birth rates occurring in the specified year. A total fertility rate of 2,110 represents “replacement level” fertility for the total population under current mortality conditions (assuming not net immigration).


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Trends in Fertility rates, cont.

  • Fertility rates for all women in the US have been rising (with slight vacillation) since 1980:

    • From 1,840 to 2,054 in 2005

  • Fertility rates for white women have increased since 1980 (from 1,773 to 2,055 in 2004) while those for black women have fallen (2,177 to 2,033 in 2004)

    • Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States (SAUS), Table 82 at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/


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Trends in births

  • The number of live births increased from 3,612,000 in 1980 to 4,269,000 in 2006.

    • The trend is increasing births for every racial category.

      • (Source: SAUS, Tables 77 and 79)


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Trends in birth rates

  • Birth rates are falling for all women:

    • From 16.7 in 1990 to 14.0 in 2005

  • The downward trend is true of women in all racial categories.

  • Birth rates are falling for women less than 25.

  • Birth rates for women 30-49 years are rising.

  • There is no discernable trend for women 25-29 years.

    • (Source: SAUS, Tables 78 and 79)


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Trends in Teen births

  • The number of teen births is falling:

    • From 533,000 (1990) to 421,000 (2005)

      (Source: SAUS, Table 79)

  • The percentage of all births to teen mothers is falling:

    • From 12.8% (1990) to 10.2% (2005)

      (Source: SAUS, Table 85)

  • Teen births rates are falling for all age groups (15-17 and 18-19) and races:

    • From 59.9 (1990) to 40.4 (2005)

      • (Source: SAUS, Table 79)


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Trends in births to Unmarried Women

  • The total number of live births to unmarried women is rising:

    • From 1,165,000 (1990) to 1,525,000 (2005)

  • By race:

    • The number of births to white unmarried women is up: 670,000 (1990) to 983,000 (2004)

    • The number of births to black unmarried women is down: 455,000 (1990) to 424,000 (2004)

      • (Source: SAUS, Table 84)


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Trends in births to Unmarried Women, cont.

  • By age:

    • The number of births to women less than 20 is falling: 361,000 (1990) to 350,000 (2005)

    • The number of births to unmarried women 20 years and older is rising: 805,000 to 1,121,000.

      • (Source: SAUS, Table 84)


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Trends in births to Unmarried Women, cont.

  • The percentage of births to unmarried mothers is rising:

    • From 26.6% (1990) to 36.8% (2005)

      (Source: SAUS, Table 85)

  • The percentage of all births outside of marriage born to white mothers is rising:

    • From 57.5% in 1990 to 66.9% in 2004

  • The percentage of all births outside of marriage born to black mothers is falling:

    • From 39.1% in 1990 to 28.8% in 2004

      • (Source: SAUS, Table 84)


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Trends in births to Unmarried Women, cont.

  • The percentage of white babies born outside of marriage is rising:

    • From 16.9% in 1990 to 30.5% in 2004

  • The percentage of black babies born outside of marriage is rising much less dramatically:

    • From 66.7% in 1990 to 68.8% in 2004

      (Source: SAUS, Table 85)


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Other relevant birth trends

  • The percentage of low birth weight babies (less than 2,500 g. or 5 lb. 8 oz.) is rising slightly:

    • From 7.0% (1990) to 8.7% (2005)

      (Source: SAUS, Table 85)

  • The percent of mothers with prenatal care in the first trimester is rising:

    • From 74.2 in 1990 to 83.7% in 2002

      (Source: SAUS, Table 82, p. 10)


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Birth rates by family income

Source: SAUS, Table 88, p. 13


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Birth rates by income, cont.

  • Birth rates for women with family incomes less than $10,000 (95.8) are almost twice that for women in families with incomes of $75,000 and more (54.8).

  • Births rates fall off sharply between two sets of income brackets:

    • Less than $10,000 to $10,000-19,999, and

    • $20,000-24,999 to $25,000-29,999.

      • (Source: SAUS, Table 88, p. 13)


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Summary: Births

  • The number of live births is increasing.

  • Birth rates are falling for all women.

    • Birth rates are twice as high for low-income (<$10K) women that for high-income women (>$75).

  • The number of teen births is falling.

  • The percentage of all births to teen mothers is falling.


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Summary, cont.

  • The total number of live births to all unmarried women is rising

    • The number of births to black unmarried women is down

  • The percentage of births to unmarried mothers is rising

  • The percentage babies born outside of marriage is rising for whites and declining for blacks

  • The percentage of low birth weight babies is rising slightly.


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Abortions and abortion rates

  • Half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended; half of these end in abortion.


  • A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions.

    • 56% of women having abortions are in their 20s;

    • 61% have one or more children;

    • 67% have never married;

    • 57% are economically disadvantaged (living below 200% of the poverty line);

    • 88% live in a metropolitan area; and

    • 78% report a religious affiliation.


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Abortions and abortion rates, cont.

  • Both the number of abortions and abortion rates (abortions per 1000) have declined steadily since 1980:

    • The number of abortions fell from 1,554,000 in 1980 to 1,287,000 in 2003

    • The abortion rate fell from 29.3 in 1980 to 20.8 in 2003

      • Source: SAUS, Table 96


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Abortions and abortion rates, cont.

  • This decline was not shared equally among all groups

    • abortion rates increased among economically disadvantaged women:

    • In 2001, 57% of women having abortions were economically disadvantaged (living below 200% of the poverty line).

      http://www.guttmacher.org/tables/3422602charts.pdf


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Women having an abortion are predominantly of modest means

Source: Jones RK, Darrock JE and Henshaw SK, “Patterns in the socioeconomic characteristics of woman obtaining abortions in 2000-2001,” Perspectives on Social and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(5):226-235.


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Abortions and abortion rates, cont.


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Abortions and abortion rates, cont.

  • The percentage of abortions accounted for by blacks and other women of color is climbing as the overall number of abortions falls:

    • From 30% in 1980 to 44.5 % in 2001

    • Women of color were 3.1 times more likely to abort a pregnancy in 2001 than were white women

    • Women of color in two parent families were 1.38 more more likely to live in poverty than whites

    • Women of color in single parent families were 1.98 percent more likely to live in poverty than whites

      • Source: SAUS, Table 93, p. 16


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Summary: Abortions

  • Half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended; half of these end in abortion.


  • Overall, both the number of abortions and abortion rates (abortions per 1000) have declined steadily since 1980.

    • abortion rates increased among economically disadvantaged women

  • The percentage of abortions accounted for by blacks and other women of color is climbing as the overall number of abortions falls.


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Reverse the direction of Causality

Does poverty lead to unintended pregnancies?

  • The poorest women are increasingly likely to face unintended pregnancies

    • Between 1994 and 2001, the rate of unintended pregnancy increased by 29% among U.S. women whose income was below the poverty line, while it decreased 20% among women with incomes at least twice the federal poverty level.

  • Source: L.B. Finer and S.K. Henshaw, Disparities in Rates of Unintended Pregnanacy in the United States, 1994 and 2001 http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2006/05/04/index.html


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Puzzle

  • Is it poverty per se that leads to higher rates of illegitimacy, or some other factor that is related to both poverty and the likelihood of having a baby out of marriage?

    • Think about the three women in American Dream in conjunction with this question.


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