13 Feb 2016

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Australia Farewell: Predictors of Emigration in the 2000s

Abstract

The factors leading individuals to immigrate to developed contexts are widely studied, but comparatively less is known about those who emigrate from them. In this paper, we use data from a nationally representative cohort of Australian adults to develop longitudinal measures of emigration and to assess how social ties and individual economic position predict emigration. Cox proportional hazards models indicate that the propensity to emigrate is particularly pronounced for those with relatively little social connectedness in Australia. Specifically, our results show that first-generation Australians, especially those with relatively short durations in the country, have substantially higher emigration rates than later-generation Australians. Similarly, having a partner with deeper generational roots in Australia strongly reduces the likelihood to emigrate. At the same time, our analysis also shows that economic position matters, with the not employed having higher risks of emigration. Perhaps most interestingly, estimates from our models reveal that those with university degrees are much more likely to emigrate than individuals with lower levels of education, a finding that is true for both first- and later-generation Australians.


Age-Specific Variation in Adult Mortality Rates in Developed Countries

Abstract

This paper investigates historical changes in both single-year-of-age adult mortality rates and variation of the single-year mortality rates around expected values within age intervals over the past two centuries in 15 developed countries. We apply an integrated hierarchical age-period-cohort—variance function regression model to data from the human mortality database. We find increasing variation of the single-year rates within broader age intervals over the life course for all countries, but the increasing variation slows down at age 90 and then increases again after age 100 for some countries; the variation significantly declined across cohorts born after the early 20th century; and the variation continuously declined over much of the last two centuries but has substantially increased since 1980. Our further analysis finds the recent increases in mortality variation are not due to increasing proportions of older adults in the population, trends in mortality rates, or disproportionate delays in deaths from degenerative and man-made diseases, but rather due to increasing variations in young and middle-age adults.


Family Structure and Children’s Economic Well-Being: Incorporating Same-Sex Cohabiting Mother Families

Abstract

Research on family structure and child well-being rarely includes children in same-sex parent families, a notable omission since 28 % of female–female couple households contain children. Using the 2010–2013 pooled current population survey (CPS), we examined children’s economic well-being by family structure. These data were ideal for this study because they included a sizeable number of children in same-sex cohabiting mother families and the CPS measured both official and supplemental poverty, incorporating the cohabiting partner. Using the official poverty measure, children in same-sex cohabiting mother families were more likely to be poor than their counterparts in either different-sex cohabiting or married parent families. Using the supplemental poverty measure, children in same-sex mother families were no more likely to be poor than children in all other types of different-sex two-parent families.


Erosion of Advantage: Decomposing Differences in Infant Mortality Rates Among Older Non-Hispanic White and Mexican-Origin Mothers

Abstract

We build on findings from recent research showing an erosion of infant survival advantage in the Mexican-origin population relative to non-Hispanic whites at older maternal ages, with patterns that differ by nativity. This runs counter to the well-documented Hispanic infant mortality paradox and suggests that weathering and/or other negative health selection mechanisms may contribute to increasing disadvantage at older maternal ages. Using the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) cohort-linked birth and infant death files, we decompose the difference in Mexican-origin non-Hispanic white infant mortality at older maternal ages to better understand the contribution of selected medical and social risk factors to components of the difference. We find differences in the distribution and effects of risk factors across the three populations of interest. The infant mortality rate (IMR) gap between Mexican-origin women and non-Hispanic whites can be attributed to numerous offsetting factors, with inadequate prenatal care standing out as a major contributor to the IMR difference. Equalizing access to and utilization of prenatal care may provide one possible route to closing the IMR gap at older maternal ages.


Realizing Racial and Ethnic Neighborhood Preferences? Exploring the Mismatches Between What People Want, Where They Search, and Where They Live

Abstract

The housing search process is an overlooked mechanism in the scholarly research that seeks to understand the causes of persistent racial residential segregation in the United States. Past research has explored in detail the preferences people hold in terms of the racial and ethnic composition of their neighborhoods, and more recently some have also examined the correspondence between racial and ethnic neighborhood preferences and current neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. But an intermediate stage—the racial/ethnic composition of where people search—has not been investigated. We analyze a subsample (n = 382) from the 2004–2005 Chicago Area Study to demonstrate the value of systematically studying the matches—or mismatches—between preferences, search locations, and neighborhood outcomes. We find that for whites, not only their current neighborhoods but also the neighborhoods in which they search for housing have larger percentages of whites than they say they prefer. In contrast, blacks—and to a lesser extent Latinos—search in neighborhoods that correspond to their preferences, but reside in neighborhoods with a larger percentage own group. Logistic regression analyses reveal that mismatches are associated with both a lack of information and inadequate finances, but also may be due to socially desirable responding for whites in particular. Our results provide suggestive evidence of the importance of unpacking the search process more generally and draw attention to what are likely to be productive new future data collection efforts as well as an area potentially ripe for policy interventions.


Gentrification and Segregated Wealth in Rural America: Home Value Sorting in Destination Counties

Abstract

The term “gentrification” carries conflicting popular connotations, conjuring images of both revitalization and displacement. Despite a rich critical literature from urban social scientists, gentrification as it relates to rural housing and rural development is a similarly conflicted term. With the frequent conflation of rural gentrification and economic improvement, researchers and policy-makers alike need more nuanced techniques for identifying how the process distributes costs and benefits across households. This paper operationalizes rural gentrification as a specific demographic pattern of household migration, termed the “Rural Gentrification Score,” and maps its footprint between 1980 and 2000 in 25 US states. It then uses census data to better understand the impacts of rural gentrification on home values in rural counties, interrogating the popular notion that homeowners benefit from gentrification. Using comparative analyses, two related hypotheses about rural gentrification and inequality are explored: (1) that gentrified rural counties were susceptible to greater home value segregation and (2) that over time gentrification’s spread culminated in greater homogeneity of home values. Results support each of these hypotheses and point to nuances in the relationship between population turnover, inequality, and socioeconomic context. Most notably the findings highlight a spatial and temporal pattern of widening wealth inequality in gentrifying rural counties.


The Benefits of Educational Attainment for U.S. Adult Mortality: Are they Contingent on the Broader Environment?

Abstract

The growing recognition that educational attainment is one of the strongest preventive factors for adult health and longevity has fueled an interest in educational attainment as a population health strategy. However, less attention has been given to identifying social, economic, and behavioral resources that may moderate the health and longevity benefits of education. We draw on theories of resource substitution and multiplication to examine the extent to which the education–mortality association is contingent on other resources (marriage, employment, income, healthy lifestyles). We use data on adults aged 30–84 in the 1997–2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File and estimate discrete-time event history models stratified by gender (N = 146,558; deaths = 10,399). We find that the mortality benefits of education are generally largest for adults—especially women—who have other resources such as employment and marriage, supporting the theory of resource multiplication. Nonetheless, our results also imply that other resources can potentially attenuate the mortality disadvantages (advantages) associated with low (high) levels of education. The findings suggest that efforts to improve population health and longevity by raising education levels should be augmented with strategies that assure widespread access to social, economic, and behavioral resources.


The Effects of Allostatic Load on Racial/Ethnic Mortality Differences in the United States

Abstract

This study expands on previous findings of racial/ethnic and allostatic load (AL) associations with mortality by addressing whether differential AL levels by race/ethnicity may explain all-cause mortality differences. This study used data from the third National Health and Nutrition Survey public-use file, gathered between 1988 and 1994, with up to 18 years of mortality follow-up (n = 11,733). AL scores were calculated using a 10-biomarker algorithm based on clinically determined thresholds. Results of discrete-time hazard models suggest that AL is associated with increased mortality risks, independent of other factors, including race/ethnicity and SES. The results also suggest that the AL–mortality association is stronger for non-Hispanic blacks than for non-Hispanic whites, and that at low levels of AL observed mortality differences between non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites are non-significant. These findings suggest that mortality differences between non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites may be the result of how early life exposure causes premature aging and increased mortality risks. More attention to resource allocation and local environments is needed to understand why non-Hispanic blacks experience premature aging that leads to differential mortality risks compared to non-Hispanic whites.


It is Hard to Swim Upstream: Dietary Acculturation Among Mexican-Origin Children

Abstract

Health and immigration researchers often implicate dietary acculturation in explanations of Mexican children of immigrants’ weight gain after moving to the U.S., but rarely explore how diet is shaped by immigrants’ structural incorporation. We used data from the 1999/00-2009/10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess how indicators of Mexican-origin children’s acculturation and structural incorporation influence two outcomes: how healthy and how “Americanized” children’s diets are. Indicators of acculturation were strongly associated with more Americanized and less healthy diets. However, structural incorporation indicators were mostly unrelated to diet outcomes net of acculturation. An exception was that parental education was positively associated with consuming a healthy diet. Finally, children of natives consumed more Americanized, unhealthy diets than children of immigrants and these differences were largely explained by differences in the acculturation. Children of natives would have consumed an even less healthy diet were it not for their higher levels of parental education. Overall, the results suggest that the process of adapting to the U.S. life style is associated with the loss of cultural culinary preferences and less healthy eating behaviors despite improvements in socioeconomic status.


Duty, Honor, Country, Disparity: Race/Ethnic Differences in Health and Disability Among Male Veterans

Abstract

Given their unique occupational hazards and sizable population, military veterans are an important population for the study of health. Yet, veterans are by no means homogeneous, and there are unanswered questions regarding the extent of, and explanations for, racial and ethnic differences in veterans’ health. Using the 2010 National Survey of Veterans, we first documented race/ethnic differences in self-rated health and limitations in activities of daily living among male veterans aged 30–84. Second, we examined potential explanations for the disparities, including socioeconomic and behavioral differences, as well as differences in specific military experiences. We found that Black, Hispanic, and other/multiple race veterans reported much worse health than White veterans. Using progressively adjusted regression models, we uncovered that the poorer self-rated health and higher levels of activity limitations among minority veterans compared to Whites were partially explained by differences in their socioeconomic status and by their military experiences. Minority veterans are a vulnerable population for poor health; future research and policy efforts should attempt to better understand and ameliorate their health disadvantages relative to White veterans.


Stress and Maternal Postpartum Depression: The Importance of Stress Type and Timing

Abstract

Interest in identifying social risk factors for maternal postpartum depression has increased, with a growing emphasis placed on stress exposure. Despite increased interest, questions about the importance of lifetime stress exposure relative to stress surrounding childbirth, along with the importance of different types of stressful events, remain unanswered. The stress process model has gained prominence as a guiding framework for examining stress type and timing in studies of major depression and poor pregnancy outcomes, suggesting that this framework has the potential to advance our understanding of the relationship between stress exposure and depressive symptoms in postpartum women. Using in-person interviews and medical record data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (N = 4362), we draw on a stress process framework to examine: (1) whether lifetime acute stress exposure prior to pregnancy and birth is a risk factor for postpartum depression net of more proximate acute stressors occurring after pregnancy and birth, and (2) which types of stress (acute, chronic) are most salient for this outcome. Our results show that both acute stressors and chronic strains are independently associated with postpartum depression and acute stressors occurring prior to pregnancy and birth have long-lasting effects on postpartum mental health even when more proximate acute stressors are considered. Our findings underscore the need to more fully capture stressors and strains occurring throughout a woman’s life course with regard to postpartum depression, and suggest the importance of rooting postpartum research and screening in a stress process framework.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Use Among Active-Duty Military Personnel, Veterans, and Reservists

Abstract

Subpopulations have variable connections to specific institutions, such as the military, which can influence their use of social programs and access to resources. We use data from the 5-year (2008–2012) American Community Survey (ACS) public-use file to examine current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) use by military service status: active-duty personnel, recent veterans, long-term veterans, and reserve/guard members. Overall and by military service status, we estimate weighted descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models that include demographic and socioeconomic controls. We document low but non-trivial levels of participation among active-duty personnel (2.2 %), higher but still moderate levels of SNAP use among veterans (7.1 % for recent veterans and 6.5 % for long-term veterans), and the highest level of use among members of the reserve/guard (9.0 %). Multivariate analyses support hypotheses based on the potential for the military, as a total institution, to substantially reduce use of SNAP among active-duty personnel, while veterans and reservists, who are more distal from food-related institutional resources, have higher likelihoods of using SNAP. Although levels of SNAP use among active-duty personnel, veterans, and reservists are lower than those observed in the national population, which includes those with no direct connection to military institutions, findings suggest that leaving active-duty military service results in a substantial and relatively immediate reduction in food-related resources for many recent veterans and their families. We discuss the implications of the findings for policy, limitations of the research, and directions for future research.


The Increasing Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity of Children and Youth in China, 1989–2009: An Age–Period–Cohort Analysis

Abstract

As childhood overweight and obesity, especially its cohort component, can be viewed as the leading edge of future changes in the population prevalence of obesity, scholars are concerned about what temporal effects drive the rise of childhood overweight/obesity prevalence worldwide. Using eight waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1989 to 2009, this research conducts hierarchical age–period–cohort analyses to investigate temporal patterns of the rising overweight/obesity prevalence for children and youth aged 2–25 in the world’s most populous country. We find that the age trajectory of overweight/obesity reaches a nadir around age 14 and 15 and increases afterwards. Children and youth are more likely to be overweight/obese in the most recent period of observation, and this pattern is persistent across different socio-demographic groups. Moreover, a statistically significant cohort component is detected for the overall population and further analyses reveal that this cohort increase is mainly restricted to males. Demonstrating distinct age, period, and cohort components embedded in the rise of childhood overweight/obesity in China, this research lends support to the global epidemic of obesity and calls attention to a new phase of the Epidemiologic Transition in China.


The Effects of Household Technology on Body Mass Index among Chinese Adults

Abstract

Current public obesity intervention focuses on promoting programs that encourage exercise and healthy eating. Our study emphasizes that rapid technological changes may also have the potential to lead to obesity epidemics. This research investigates whether household technology launched in China during the last two decades has the potential to cause increases in body mass index (BMI). We hypothesize that adopting household technology is a contributory factor in BMI increase, independent of daily calorie consumption and energy expenditure in exercise. To test this hypothesis, we use longitudinal data from individuals aged 18–55 who participated in the 1997–2009 China Health and Nutrition Survey. Linear fixed-effects regression captures the effects of the dynamic processes of adopting household technology on BMI. All analyses are stratified by gender. The results show that adopting computers or air conditioners is associated with BMI increases in men, while adopting washing machines promotes BMI increases in women. Having a computer is associated with a decrease in BMI for women. Food-preparation technologies, such as refrigerators, microwaves, rice makers, and pressure cookers, are associated with BMI increases for both men and women. This study suggests that household technology ownership and BMI increases are linked, whereas changes in overall energy intake and exercise may not function as mediators for this relationship. Future public health policy may evaluate interventions focused on increasing low-intensity activities impacted by household technologies.


The Effect of Incarceration on Midlife Health: A Life-Course Approach

Abstract

A significant association between incarceration and health is well established, but whether this association depends on the timing of incarceration is not known. Men who experience incarceration during the transition to adulthood are more likely to have their educational attainment and transition into the work force disrupted relative to others who are never incarcerated and to those who are first incarcerated in adulthood. Thus, I investigate whether age at first incarceration conditions the relationship between incarceration and men’s health, including general and mental health in midlife. I also examine whether the disadvantaged socioeconomic status and health behavior of ex-inmates function as a main mechanism explaining the relationship between incarceration and health. Using propensity score–weighted regressions with data from the NLSY79. I find that men with a first incarceration during the transition to adulthood (at ages 18–24) are less likely to be in good self-reported general and mental health than otherwise similar men who have never been incarcerated. Results suggest that these negative health conditions among ex-inmates are explained mostly by socioeconomic status such as educational attainment and employment. On the other hand, men with an incarceration experience later in adulthood (at ages 25–40) are not less likely to be in good general and mental health compared to otherwise similar men who have never been incarcerated. Overall, the results from this study encourage a life course approach to understanding the relationship between incarceration and health.


Evaluation of Alternative Cohort-Component Models for Local Area Population Forecasts

Abstract

It is generally accepted by demographers that cohort-component projection models which incorporate directional migration are conceptually preferable to those using net migration. Yet net migration cohort-component models, and other simplified variations, remain in common use by both academics and practitioners because of their simplicity and low data requirements. While many arguments have been presented in favour of using one or other type of model, surprisingly little analysis has been undertaken to assess which tend to give the most accurate forecasts. This paper evaluates five cohort-component models which differ in the way they handle migration, four of which are well known, with one—a composite net migration model—being proposed here for the first time. The paper evaluates the performance of these five models in their unconstrained form, and then in a constrained form in which age–sex-specific forecasts are constrained to independent total populations from an extrapolative model shown to produce accurate forecasts in earlier research. Retrospective forecasts for 67 local government areas of New South Wales were produced for the period 1991–2011 and then compared to population estimates. Assessments of both total and age-specific population forecasts were made. The results demonstrate the superior performance of the forecasts constrained to total populations from the extrapolative model, with the constrained bi-regional model giving the lowest errors. The findings should be of use to practitioners in selecting appropriate models for local area population forecasts.


Changes in Cohabitation After the Birth of the First Child in Chile

Abstract

In Chile, as in other Latin American countries, most children born outside of marriage are born to currently cohabiting couples. After having their first child, parents could marry, separate, or experience no change in union status. This paper explores changes in cohabitation that occur after the birth of the first child in Chile and analyzes how these changes might be associated with the birth of children and socioeconomic status. The data come from the New Chilean Family Survey, a small longitudinal survey administered to women after giving birth (n = 564). I use life tables and event history techniques to assess changes in respondent union status up to 4 years after the birth of the first child, and to study the transitions out of cohabitation. The results indicate that the unions in the sample are relatively stable, because less than 40 percent of cohabiters change status over the period of 4 years. However, marriage still appears to be a more stable type of union than cohabitation. Among cohabiters, there is evidence of a nonlinear relation between union stability and educational attainment, because the most stable unions are the unions of women with a high school diploma and not the unions of women who did not complete their secondary education. Having planned the first birth and the birth of an additional child seems to consolidate the cohabiting union, because these variables are not related to the entry into marriage, but they are related to lower risks of dissolution. These findings suggest that the Chilean case differs from the cases of Europe and the United States.


Foiled Aspirations: The Influence of Unauthorized Status on the Educational Expectations of Latino Immigrant Youth

Abstract

Latino immigrant adolescents have the highest high school dropout rates of any race-ethnic or nativity group in the United States. One potential reason for high dropout rates among Latino immigrant youth is that many are unauthorized entrants. These unauthorized Latino immigrant youth have few opportunities to attend college, and, as they become aware of barriers to their educational progress and employment, they may lower their educational expectations. Using data from the Latino adolescent migration, health, and adaptation project (N = 275), we examine the association of unauthorized entry into the U.S. with the educational expectations of Latino immigrant youth. We find that adolescents entering the U.S. without authorization have lower educational expectations than those who enter with authorization. These differences in their expectations persist after controlling for differences in their pre-migration, migration, and post-migration experiences. Policies and programs that reduce barriers to higher education and labor market opportunities can potentially help to foster higher educational expectations among unauthorized immigrant youth and may promote their high school completion.


Repartnering and Childbearing After Divorce: Differences According to Parental Status and Custodial Arrangements

Abstract

We use a stepfamily formation perspective to study two dimensions of the family life course following the dissolution of a first marriage. First, we examine how the presence of children from a prior union and the custody arrangements of those children influence the process of repartnering. In doing so, we extend the traditional explanations of union formation in terms of needs, attractiveness, and opportunities by taking into account the parental status of the new partners and a detailed classification of the custody arrangement of the children. Next, we investigate the likelihood of childbearing within those post-separation unions with a particular emphasis on the prior parental status of both partners. By studying post-separation union formation and fertility behavior together, we get a more complete depiction of stepfamily formation especially in their more complex forms. Our analyses are based on survey data for 2077 divorced men and 2384 divorced women collected in the Divorce in Flanders study. The results show that compared with other divorcees, full-time residential parents are the least likely to start a new union following separation and that parents are more likely to start a union with another parent than with a childless partner. Several of our results suggest that parenthood may not be a particularly attractive status on the partner market. Potential partners without children themselves appear especially reluctant to assume a (residential) step parental role. In contrast with the results for union formation, it is not the custody arrangement of the child(ren) but parental status itself that predicts childbearing within higher order unions. Our findings are important from a policy perspective as they stress the consequences of gender-neutral childrearing patterns following divorce for the repartnering of women after separation.


Family Resources in Two Generations and School Readiness Among Children of Teen Parents

Abstract

Overall, children born to teen parents experience disadvantaged cognitive achievement at school entry compared with children born to older parents. However, within this population, there is variation, with a significant fraction of teen parents’ children acquiring adequate preparation for school entry during early childhood. We ask whether the family background of teen parents explains this variation. We use data on children born to teen mothers from three waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N ~ 700) to study the association of family background with children’s standardized reading and mathematics achievement scores at kindergarten entry. When neither maternal grandparent has completed high school, children’s scores on standardized assessments of math and reading achievement are one-quarter to one-third of a standard deviation lower compared with families where at least one grandparent finished high school. This association is net of teen mothers’ own socioeconomic status in the year prior to children’s school entry.