3 Dec 2016

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Understanding Hypergamous Marriages of Chinese Rural Women

Abstract

In China, hypergamy is a socially desirable marriage but an understudied topic. Less has been written on how personal traits and structural factors are intertwined to shape such marriage. Using national-survey data and employing a binary endogenous regressor probit model, this paper investigates three forms of hypergamous marriages: women marrying men from more prosperous families, women marrying men who are more economically established, and women marrying men with an urban hukou. We assess the interaction of ascribed and achieved personal traits with institutional factors in explaining these upward marriages. Particular attention is paid to the role of hukou status in the making of hypergamy. Our results suggest that most of rural women have to stick to endogamy within their socioeconomic category. Ascribed and achieved traits work on marital outcomes in different ways in the changing socioeconomic contexts, mediated by the endogeneity of hukou status conversion. The likelihood of hypergamous marriages of Chinese women is largely constrained by the role of hukou status.


Erratum to: Diverging Demography: Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Contributions to U.S. Population Redistribution and Diversity


Pregnancy and Dropout: Effects of Family, Neighborhood, and High School Characteristics on Girls’ Fertility and Dropout Status

Abstract

Administrative data from multiple sources are combined to measure pregnancy (excluding those ending in abortion or miscarriage) and high school dropout in a cohort of girls who were 9th graders in the 1994–1995 academic year. Rates of pregnancy (as identified in the data) and dropout are substantially higher among Hispanic high school students than among African-Americans or non-Hispanic whites. Previous studies of teen pregnancy and dropout typically focus on pregnancy rates conditional on dropout status, or dropout rates conditional on fertility. This paper presents estimates of pregnancy and dropout as a joint-dependent variable. Estimates of their joint probability distribution conditional on individual, family, neighborhood, and high school characteristics are reported. The estimates use longitudinal administrative data collected as annual censuses of all public school students in Texas with individual-level ids. Neighborhood characteristics (from the US Census data geographically linked to Texas high schools) have large effects on pregnancy and dropout. Immigrant Hispanic girls’ pregnancy rates are significantly lower than native-born Hispanic girls’ pregnancy rates. Above-normal-age status in the 9th grade is among the strongest predictors of pregnancy and dropout in later years. Ethnic differences in age distributions within grade level appear to explain a large share of ethnic differences in pregnancy and dropout rates.


Internal and International Migration Across the Urban Hierarchy in Albania

Abstract

The interactions between the processes of urbanization and international migration in less developed and transition countries have important repercussions for socioeconomic development, but are not well understood. Based on the retrospective data from the Albanian Living Standards Measurement Survey 2008, we first assess the geography of migration in terms of the rural–urban continuum, the urban hierarchy and the outside world since 1990. We then investigate the spatio-temporal diffusion of rural-to-urban and international movements using survival models. Results reveal an immediate onset of large-scale rural exodus, despite the post-communist crisis. Internal migrants mainly moved to the capital, bypassing secondary cities, and were predominantly female. Initially, international migrants were primarily men who tended to originate from the main urban agglomerations. The diffusion of opportunities to emigrate down the urban hierarchy and across the sexes then redirected the rural exodus abroad, despite domestic economic development. This evolution in population mobility is related to the gendered patterns and interlinkages of the two flows, as well as to rising inequalities within the urban hierarchy.


Exploring New Life Course Patterns of Mother’s Continuing Secondary and College Education

Abstract

A mounting body of evidence suggests that the life course sequence that once defined contemporary US women’s lives is changing as an increasing number of women now complete their education after the transition to motherhood. Despite such evidence, we know little about this changing pattern of life course events for many US women. The aim of this study, therefore, is to produce population-based estimates that describe the prevalence of mothers’ school reentry and secondary and college degree attainment, the timing of women’s post-childbearing education vis-à-vis their transition into motherhood, and the characteristics of mothers who pursue additional schooling. To do so, the study draws on data from a nationally representative cohort of US women participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 4925) and descriptive and event-history techniques. Findings suggest that a substantial proportion of mothers (17 %) completed additional education after the transition to motherhood, especially mothers who had the lowest levels of education at their time of first birth (high school dropouts) (43 %). These mothers, who overwhelmingly earned high school degrees/GEDs, were most likely to do so within 5 years of giving birth, while mothers pursuing higher levels were more likely to do so when children were older. Mothers who pursued schooling after the transition to motherhood were remarkably more disadvantaged than women who followed the traditional sequencing of life course events. Compared to women who had the same education upon being mothers, they were also younger, more often poor, and had greater job instability but higher cognitive test scores.


Highly Skilled Migration from Africa to the US: Exit Mechanisms, Demographic Determinants, and the Role of Socioeconomic Trends

Abstract

Despite increases in research on the migration of skilled Africans to the developed world, few studies have examined the specific mechanisms of departure contributing to these trends. Previous studies further contain limited analysis of how these mechanisms respond to Africa’s changing social and demographic trends. This study uses data from various sources to examine these issues. The results indicate that, in absolute terms, overall emigration flows of highly skilled Africans to the US more than doubled between 1980 and 2010. In addition, they suggest that previous arguments indicating that the recruitment of African professionals drives these flows understate the role of student migration in driving these movements. In the past three decades, more skilled Africans migrated to the US through student migration mechanisms than through any mechanism associated with the recruitment of workers. Furthermore, in recent years, the Diversity Visa Program has become the second most important mechanism through which skilled emigration from Africa occurs. Finally, the analysis finds that trends in African student emigration are highly responsive to youth population growth and that, surprisingly, the migration of skilled professionals is less influenced by African economic trends than by economic trends in the US.


Planning for the American Dream: The College-Savings Behavior of Asian and Latino Foreign-Born Parents in the United States

Abstract

Rapid growth in the population of children of immigrants has occurred during an era of soaring college costs in the United States. Despite well-established knowledge that immigrant parents hold high educational expectations for their children and that children of immigrants will make up a large share of the U.S. college-aged population, little is known about how immigrant families prepare financially for their children’s postsecondary education. We use data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to examine the patterns and predictors of college savings behavior among Asian and Latino foreign-born parents of high school students in the United States. Relative to white U.S.-born parents, Asian immigrant parents have higher odds of saving and have more money saved for their 10th-grader’s college education. In contrast, Latino immigrant parents are less likely than white U.S.-born parents to save for their children’s college education. However, among parents who save, Latino immigrant parents do not differ from white U.S.-born parents in the amount saved. For both Asian and Latino immigrant parents, income is less predictive of saving than it is for white U.S.-born parents, and the odds of saving increase with U.S. experience. Findings improve understanding of college access and the long-term socioeconomic prospects of children of immigrants in the U.S.


Is the Pro-Poor Premium Exemption Policy of Ghana’s NHIS Reducing Disparities Among the Elderly?

Abstract

Under the act that established the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), persons 70 years of age or above are automatically enrolled in the scheme and therefore can access health services free at the point of use. This suggests that the elderly who are unable to afford the premiums of private health insurance can enrol in the NHIS thereby eliminating the possibility of disparities in health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, few studies have examined health insurance coverage among the elderly in Ghana. The lack of studies on the elderly in Ghana may be due to limited data on this important demographic group. Using data from the Study on Global Ageing and Health and applying logit models, this paper investigates whether the pro-poor exemption policy is eliminating disparities among the elderly aged 70 years and older. The results show that disparities in insurance coverage among the elderly are based on respondents’ socio-economic circumstances, mainly their wealth status. The study underscores the need for eliminating health access disparities among the elderly and suggests that the current premium exemptions alone may not be the solution to eliminating disparities in health insurance coverage among the elderly.


Comparing Veteran and Non-veteran Racial Disparities in Mid-life Health and Well-being

Abstract

Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data on mid-life physical health, mental health, and self-esteem, I examine inter- and intra-racial disparities in health and well-being among veteran and non-veteran men (N = 2440). After controlling for selectivity into the military via propensity weighting, I find that black veterans have higher self-esteem than white veterans and comparable black non-veterans, but white veterans have similar mid-life self-esteem as their non-veteran counterparts. I find no evidence of disparities in health for depressive symptoms and self-rated health after taking selection into military service into account. The results suggest that aspects of military service may increase blacks’ self-esteem, possibly due to less discrimination and more opportunity.


The Effect of Cash Transfers on Fertility: Evidence from Argentina

Abstract

In 2009 Argentina introduced a large poverty-alleviation program (AUH) that provides monthly cash transfers per child to households without workers in the formal sector. In this paper we study the potential unintended effect of this program on fertility. We apply a difference-in-difference strategy comparing the probability of having a new child among eligible and ineligible mothers both before and after the program inception. The intention to treat estimations suggest a significant positive impact on fertility in households with at least one child (around 2 percentage points), but no significant effect on childless households. Given the short time window since the implementation of the AUH, we are unable to identify whether this positive effect reflects changes in the timing of births or in the equilibrium number of children.


Changing Australia’s Age Pension Qualification Age: Modelling Differential Effects by Race

Abstract

Increasing the age at which people are eligible for the age pension is one mechanism by which governments of developed nations are attempting to manage increasing costs associated with population ageing. In Australia, there are a number of groups within the population who may be affected in unintended ways by increasing the eligibility age to 70 years by the year 2035, as was proposed in the 2014 Federal Budget. Most notably, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians currently with an average at birth life expectancy of 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females, nearly 11 years less than non-Indigenous Australians, may be the most affected. This study explores the consequences of the proposed future amendments to the age pension eligibility age, using projections of the likely age structures of future populations to estimate expected years of life remaining after reaching pension age. Despite projected improvements for Indigenous life expectancies, increasing the pension eligibility age under the schedule proposed in the policy would significantly reduce the expected years in post pension age, thus countering some of the anticipated benefits flowing from expected future life expectancy increases. However, if the eligibility age were to be increased more gradually, Indigenous Australians would be afforded a greater opportunity to access age pension benefits, whilst still reducing the length of time the non-Indigenous population is eligible to access the age pension, thus fulfilling policy objectives to manage increasing costs associated with population ageing.


Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage: Dynamics of Gaining and Losing Coverage Over the Life-Course

Abstract

Health insurance coverage varies substantially between racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, African Americans and people of Hispanic origin had persistently lower insurance coverage rates at all ages. This article describes age- and group-specific dynamics of insurance gain and loss that contribute to inequalities found in traditional cross-sectional studies. It uses the longitudinal 2008 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (N = 114,345) to describe age-specific patterns of disparity prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A formal decomposition on increment–decrement life tables of insurance gain and loss shows that coverage disparities are predominately driven by minority groups’ greater propensity to lose the insurance that they already have. Uninsured African Americans were faster to gain insurance compared to non-Hispanic whites, but their high rates of insurance loss more than negated this advantage. Disparities from greater rates of loss among minority groups emerge rapidly at the end of childhood and persist throughout adulthood. This is especially true for African Americans and Hispanics, and their relative disadvantages again heighten in their 40s and 50s.


Black–White Disparities in Adult Mortality: Implications of Differential Record Linkage for Understanding the Mortality Crossover

Abstract

Mortality rates among black individuals exceed those of white individuals throughout much of the life course. The black–white disparity in mortality rates is widest in young adulthood, and then rates converge with increasing age until a crossover occurs at about age 85 years, after which black older adults exhibit a lower mortality rate relative to white older adults. Data quality issues in survey-linked mortality studies may hinder accurate estimation of this disparity and may even be responsible for the observed black–white mortality crossover, especially if the linkage of surveys to death records during mortality follow-up is less accurate for black older adults. This study assesses black–white differences in the linkage of the 1986–2009 National Health Interview Survey to the National Death Index through 2011 and the implications of racial/ethnic differences in record linkage for mortality disparity estimates. Match class and match score (i.e., indicators of linkage quality) differ by race/ethnicity, with black adults exhibiting less certain matches than white adults in all age groups. The magnitude of the black–white mortality disparity varies with alternative linkage scenarios, but convergence and crossover continue to be observed in each case. Beyond black–white differences in linkage quality, this study also identifies declines over time in linkage quality and even eligibility for linkage among all adults. Although linkage quality is lower among black adults than white adults, differential record linkage does not account for the black–white mortality crossover.


Identifying Associations Between State Medicaid Expansion Decisions and Spatial Disparities in County Insurance Rate Changes Under the Affordable Care Act

Abstract

By the end of 2014, twenty-four states rejected Medicaid expansion, providing a unique opportunity to examine changes in insurance coverage rates after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act within and between states that did versus did not expand Medicaid. Using multilevel regression analyses of county-level non-elderly adult small area health insurance estimates (N = 3135) from the US Census Bureau, several important findings emerge. Compared to counties located in states that did not expand Medicaid, counties located in states that did expand experienced significantly larger increases in adult health insurance coverage rates between 2013 and 2014, net of the county baseline insurance coverage rate, socioeconomic and demographic composition, and labor market characteristics. In states that did not expand Medicaid, counties with larger shares of vulnerable residents (i.e., poor adults and low education) experienced lagging improvements in health insurance coverage. However, counties in states that expanded Medicaid were protected from several of these exacerbated disparities, and in some cases, experienced larger insurance coverage improvements than counties with less disadvantaged populations. These findings suggest that although insurance coverage increased in nearly all counties between 2013 and 2014, increases would have been larger and disparities would have been further alleviated if more states with highly concentrated vulnerable populations had expanded Medicaid.


Diverging Demography: Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Contributions to U.S. Population Redistribution and Diversity

Abstract

The substantial growth and geographic dispersion of Hispanics is among the most important demographic trends in recent U.S. demographic history. Our county-level study examines how widespread Hispanic natural increase and net migration has combined with the demographic change among non-Hispanics to produce an increasingly diverse population. This paper uses U.S. Census Bureau data and special tabulations of race/ethnic specific births and deaths from NCHS to highlight the demographic role of Hispanics as an engine of new county population growth and ethnoracial diversity across the U.S. landscape. It highlights key demographic processes—natural increase and net migration—that accounted for 1990–2010 changes in the absolute and relative sizes of the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations. Hispanics accounted for the majority of all U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010. Yet, Hispanics represented only 16 % of the U.S. population in 2010. Most previous research has focused on Hispanic immigration; here, we examine how natural increase and net migration among both the Hispanic and non-Hispanic population contribute to the nation’s growing diversity. Indeed, the demographic impact of rapid Hispanic growth has been reinforced by minimal white population growth due to low fertility, fewer women of reproductive age and growing mortality among the aging white population America’s burgeoning Hispanic population has left a large demographic footprint that is magnified by low and declining fertility and increasing mortality among America’s aging non-Hispanic population.


Rural–Urban Child Height for Age Trajectories and Their Heterogeneous Determinants in Four Developing Countries

Abstract

The large literature on health differentials between rural and urban areas relies almost exclusively on cross-sectional data. Bringing together the demographic literature on area-level health inequalities with the bio-physiological literature on children’s catch-up growth over time, this paper uses panel data to investigate the stability and origins of rural–urban health differentials. Using data from the Young Lives longitudinal study of child poverty, I present evidence of large level differences but similar trends in rural versus urban children’s height for age in four developing countries. Further, observable characteristics of children’s environment such as their household wealth, mother’s education, and epidemiological environment explain these differentials in most contexts. In Peru, where they do not, children’s birthweight and mothers’ health and other characteristics suggest that initial endowments—even before birth—may play an important role in explaining "residual" rural–urban child height inequalities. These latter results imply that prioritizing maternal nutrition and health is essential—particularly where rural–urban height inequalities are large. Interventions to reduce area-level health inequalities should begin even before birth.


Legal Status and Health Care: Mexican-Origin Children in California, 2001–2014

Abstract

Using restricted data from the 2001–2014 California Health Interview Surveys, this research illuminates the role of legal status in health care among Mexican-origin children. The first objective is to provide a population-level overview of trends in health care access and utilization, along with the legal statuses of parents and children. The second objective is to examine the nature of associations between children’s health care and legal status over time. We identify specific status-based distinctions that matter and investigate how their importance is changing. Despite the continuing significance of child nativity for health care, the descriptive analysis shows that the proportion of Mexican-origin children who are foreign born is declining. This trend suggests a potentially greater role of parental legal status in children’s health care. Logistic regression analyses demonstrate that the importance of parental legal status varies with the health care indicator examined and the inclusion of child nativity in models. Moreover, variation in some aspects of children’s health care coalesced more around parents’ citizenship than documentation status in the past. With one exception, the salience of such distinctions has dissipated over time.


Type of Health Facility and Utilization of Antenatal Care Services Among Ghanaian Women

Abstract

This study examined if differences exist in the number and timing of antenatal care (ANC) visits for users of public and private health care facilities in Ghana. Also, the study explored if such variations could be attributed to health-provider factors or the selective socioeconomic characteristics of the users. Data were drawn from the recently collected Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and from a representative sample of t 2135 women who attended antenatal care in a health facility 6 months preceding the survey. Random-effects Poisson and logit models were employed for analysis. Results showed statistically significant differences between users of private and public health facilities for number of ANC visits, but not for the timing of such visits. Although some health-provider factors were significantly associated with ANC visits, these factors did not explain why users of private health facilities had significantly higher number of ANC visits than users of public health facilities. Differences in ANC visits for both private and public health facilities were rather explained by the selective socioeconomic characteristics of the users, especially as wealthy and educated women patronized private health care than poorer and uneducated women. The study concludes that Ghanaian women attending private health facilities may not have improved access to antenatal care compared to those attending public health facilities, and adds to the emerging body of literature that questions private health care in sub-Saharan Africa as more effective than public health care.


Comparing the U.S. Decennial Census Coverage Estimates for Children from Demographic Analysis and Coverage Measurement Surveys

Abstract

Following every U.S. decennial census since 1960, the U.S. Census Bureau has evaluated the completeness of coverage using two different methods. Demographic analysis (DA) compares the census counts to a set of independent population estimates to infer coverage differences by age, sex, and race. The survey-based approach (also called dual system estimation or DSE) provides coverage estimates based on matching data from a post-enumeration survey to census records. This paper reviews the fundamentals of the two methodological approaches and then initially examines the results of these two methods for the 2010 decennial census in terms of consistency and inconsistency for age groups. The authors find that the two methods produce relatively consistent results for all age groups, except for young children. Consequently, the paper focuses on the results for children. Results of the 1990, 2000, and 2010 decennial censuses are shown for the overall population in this age group and by demographic detail (age, race, and Hispanic origin). Among children, the DA and DSE results are most inconsistent for the population aged 0–4 and most consistent for ages 10–17. Results also show that DA and DSE are more consistent for Black than non-Black populations. The authors discuss possible explanations for the differences in the two methods for young children and conclude that the DSE approach may underestimate the net undercount of young children due to correlation bias.


Caregiver Decision-Making: Household Response to Child Illness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

We draw upon a framework outlining household recognition and response to child illness proposed by Colvin et al. (Soc Sci Med 86:66–78, 2013) to examine factors predictive of treatment sought for a recent child illness. In particular, we model whether no treatment, middle layer treatment (traditional healer, pharmacy, community health worker, etc.), or biomedical treatment was sought for recent episodes of diarrhea, fever, or cough. Based on multinomial, multi-level analyses of Demographic and Health Surveys from 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, we determine that if women have no say in their own healthcare, they are unlikely to seek treatment in response to child illness. We find that women in sub-Saharan Africa need healthcare knowledge, the ability to make healthcare decisions, as well as resources to negotiate cost and travel, in order to access biomedical treatment. Past experience with medical services such as prenatal care and a skilled birth attendant also increases the odds that biomedical treatment for child illness is sought. We conclude that caregiver decision-making in response to child illness within households is critical to reducing child morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.