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Do patterns of interracial fertility follow the racial group patterns of the ... Integrate the role of cohabitation as context for fertility behavior ...

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What about (Having) the Children?

Rosalind B. King, National Institute of Child and Health Development

Jenifer L. Bratter, Rice University, Department of Sociology



Central Questions

Race-Specific Fertility

Same-Race vs. Interracial Fertility

Preliminary Multivariate Analysis

Hazard of Having a Child in the First Year

How does tracking interracial fertility behavior challenge what we know about racial differences group-level fertility?.

Do patterns of interracial fertility follow the racial group patterns of the female partner or with the male partner?

Which race plays a “dominant” role in shaping the fertility behavior of the couple?

Interracial couples are an increasing family form. Growing numbers of Couples are crossing racial lines and a growing number of children are reared in these households


White-White vs.

White Husband – Non-White Wife

& Non-White Husband & White Wife

Figure 1. Odds of Having A child in first year of Intermarriage by race of spouse

(Reference White – White Couples)

Data & Sample

Black- Black vs.

Black Husband – Non-Black Wife

& Non-Black Husband & Black Wife

The data used in these analyses come from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a nationally representative sample of 4,928 men ages 15 to 44 (National Center for Health Statistics 2004).

For this preliminary analysis, we draw a sample of males who report having current wives or partners and who provide valid information on their wives race and Hispanic ethnicity (n=1,672) and focus specifically on those reporting marriages (n=1,045).

Source: Lee & Edmonston 2005. “New Marriage, New Families: U.S. Racial and Hispanic Intermarriage” Population Bulletin 60(2):1-40

Figure 2. Odds of Having A child in First year of Marriage by race of spouse

(Reference Black - Black Couples)


While research has documented the likelihood of entering, its still unclear how often or how likely such couples are to bear children/

Race-Specific Trends in Fertility provide some hints:

Some racial trends in fertility are moving in the same direction (e.g., White and African American); some are moving differently (e.g., Non-Hispanic White and Hispanic

Previous research shows that within-couple differences (gender and race) matter for generating differences between couples (race-specific differences)


We show birth rates within current marriages and model the likelihood of reporting a birth within the first marriage

We employ event history analysis predicting the hazard of a birth within the first year of marriage, using complementary log-log model for continuous time processes using PROC GENMOD in SAS (Allison 1995).

We adjusted for the effects of the complex sampling design using weighted generalized estimation equations (GEE)

Note: Models Adjust for Age at Marriage, Birth Cohort, & Education of Respondent. *p<.001


Forthcoming Analyses

  • Integrate the role of cohabitation as context for fertility behavior
  • Include more groups
  • Add controls for other indicators of achieved and ascribed traits that impact both whether or not a child is born and whether or not a couple is intermarried