18 Sep 2014

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Population Projections by Age for Florida and its Counties: Assessing Accuracy and the Impact of Adjustments

Abstract

Projections of total population have been evaluated extensively, but few studies have investigated the performance of projections by age. Of those that did, most focused on projections for countries or other large areas. In this article, we evaluate projections by age for Florida and its counties, as produced and published between 1996 and 2010 by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. We first compare the precision and bias of projections of total population with the precision and bias of projections by age, at both the state and county levels. This is followed by a more detailed examination of county-level projection errors for individual age groups, first in the aggregate and then disaggregated by sex and population size. The second part of the analysis focuses on a number of adjustments that were implemented in projections published in 2006 and 2009. Intended to improve accuracy, these adjustments involved updates to the base population, fertility rates, and survival rates. We compare the accuracy of projections incorporating these adjustments with the accuracy of projections excluding them. We believe this study offers a unique opportunity to examine a variety of characteristics regarding the forecast accuracy of small-area population projections by age.


Recession and Divorce in the United States, 2008–2011

Abstract

Recession may increase divorce through a stress mechanism, or reduce divorce by exacerbating cost barriers or strengthening family bonds. After establishing an individual-level model predicting US women’s divorce, the paper tests period effects, and whether unemployment and foreclosures are associated with the odds of divorce using the 2008–2011 American Community Survey. Results show a downward spike in the divorce rate after 2008, almost recovering to the expected level by 2011, which suggests a negative recession effect. On the other hand, state foreclosure rates are positively associated with the odds of divorce with individual controls, although this effect is not significant when state fixed effects are introduced. State unemployment rates show no effect on odds of divorce. Future research will have to determine why national divorce odds fell during the recession, while state-level economic indicators were not strongly associated with divorce. Exploratory analysis which shows unemployment decreasing divorce odds for those with college degrees, while foreclosures have the opposite effect, provide one possible avenue for such research.


Occupational Stratification of Hispanics, Whites, and Blacks in Southern Rural Destinations: A Quantitative Analysis

Abstract

Since the 1990s, many rural communities in the Southern US have experienced an unprecedented influx of Latino migrants. Some research undertaken on such “new Hispanic destinations” suggests that the newcomers tend to assume low-status jobs shunned by non-Hispanic residents and thus form a segmented labor market, but other work indicates that they heavily compete with natives (particularly African Americans) for less-skilled positions. Drawing on data from the 2000 census and 2009–2011 American Community Survey, this paper examines patterns of occupational stratification between Latino, white, and black men in the rural South to identify whether Hispanic economic relations in the area are better characterized by segmentation or competition. Specifically, occupational dissimilarity indexes and status scores are calculated to map the groups’ relative economic positions in the rural portions of five Southeastern states home to fast-growing nonmetro Latino populations: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Consistent with the segmentation hypothesis, the results reveal that Latinos are highly occupationally dissimilar from non-Hispanic whites and blacks and rank significantly below both in mean occupational status. Standardization of the stratification measures shows that Hispanics’ labor market isolation and disadvantage can be substantially accounted for by their lower average levels of human capital and US citizenship.


Developmental Idealism and Cultural Models of the Family in Malawi

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which developmental idealism has been disseminated in Malawi. Developmental idealism is a set of beliefs and values about development and the relationships between development and family structures and behavior. Developmental idealism states that attributes of societies and families defined as modern are better than attributes defined as traditional, that modern societies help produce modern families, that modern families facilitate the achievement of modern societies, and that the future will bring family change in the direction of modernity. Previous research has demonstrated that knowledge of developmental idealism is widespread in many places around the world, but provides little systematic data about it in sub-Saharan Africa or how knowledge of it is associated with certain demographic characteristics in that region. In this paper, we address this issue by examining whether ordinary people in two settings in Malawi, a sub-Saharan African country, have received and understood messages that are intended to associate development with certain types of family forms and family behaviors. We then examine associations between demographic characteristics and developmental idealism to investigate possible mechanisms linking global discourse about development to the grassroots. We analyze data collected in face-to-face surveys from two samples of Malawian men in 2009 and 2010, one rural, the other in a low-to-medium income neighborhood of a city. Our analysis of these survey data shows considerable evidence that many developmental idealism beliefs have been spread in that country and that education has positive effects on beliefs in the association between development and family attributes. We also find higher levels of developmental idealism awareness in the urban sample than we do in the rural sample, but once dissimilarities in education and wealth between the two samples are controlled, awareness levels no longer differed between urban and rural respondents. We explore how these beliefs intersect with longstanding local values and beliefs in Malawi.


Religious Affiliation and Fertility in a Sub-Saharan Context: Dynamic and Lifetime Perspectives

Abstract

We use uniquely detailed data from a predominantly Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique to examine denominational differentials in fertility from two complementary perspectives—dynamic and cumulative. First, we use event-history analysis to predict yearly risks of birth from denominational affiliation. Then, we employ Poisson regression to model the association between the number of children ever born and share of reproductive life spent in particular denominations or outside organized religion. Both approaches detect a significant increase in fertility associated with membership in a particular type of African-initiated churches which is characterized by strong organizational identity, rigid hierarchy, and insular corporate culture. Membership in the Catholic Church is also associated with elevated completed fertility. We relate these results to extant theoretical perspectives on the relationship between religion and fertility by stressing the interplay between ideological, social, and organizational characteristics of different types of churches and situate our findings within the context of fertility transition and religious demographics in Mozambique and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.


Trends in Work–Family Context Among U.S. Women by Education Level, 1976 to 2011

Abstract

This study compares trends in work–family context by education level from 1976 to 2011 among U.S. women. The major aim is to assess whether differences in work–family context by education level widened, narrowed, or persisted. We used data from the 1976–2011 March Current Population Surveys on women aged 25–64 (n = 1,597,914). We compare trends in four work–family forms by education level within three race/ethnic groups. The work–family forms reflect combinations of marital and employment status among women with children at home. Trends in the four work–family forms exhibited substantial heterogeneity by education and race/ethnicity. Educational differences in the work–family forms widened mainly among white women. Compared with more-educated peers, white women without a high school credential became increasingly less likely to be married, to be employed, to have children at home, and to combine these roles. In contrast, educational differences in the work–family forms generally narrowed among black women and were directionally mixed among Hispanic women. Only one form—unmarried and employed with children at home—became more strongly linked to a woman’s education level within all three race/ethnic groups. This form carries an elevated risk of work–family conflict and its prevalence increased moderately during the 35-year period. Taken together, the trends underscore recent calls to elevate work–family policy on the national agenda.


Intergenerational Transmission of Age at First Birth in the United States: Evidence from Multiple Surveys

Abstract

It is well established that the timing of childbearing is transmitted from parents to children in the United States. However, little is known about how the intergenerational link has changed over time and under structural and ideological transformations associated with fertility behaviors. This study first considers changes across two birth cohorts from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) in the extent to which parents’ age at first birth is transmitted to their children. The first cohort includes individuals born during the late 1950s through the early 1960s (NLSY79), while the second includes individuals born in the early 1980s (NLSY97). Results from discrete-time event history analyses indicate that the intergenerational transmission of age at first birth significantly increased for both daughters and sons. These results were confirmed by analyses of data from three cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth spanning the same time period. Over this period, age at first childbirth became increasingly younger for children born to teenage mothers and increasingly older for those born to mothers who began parenthood after age 25. These patterns have important implications for the reproductive polarization hypothesis.


Bucking the Trend: Is Ethnoracial Diversity Declining in American Communities?

Abstract

Although increasing diversity at the national scale is a well-documented trend, substantial variation in patterns of ethnoracial change occurs across American communities. Our research considers one theoretically implied path: that some communities are ‘bucking the trend,’ becoming more homogeneous over time. Using 1980 through 2010 decennial census data, we calculate panethnic (five-group) entropy index scores to measure the magnitude of diversity for nearly 11,000 census-defined places. Our results indicate that while certain places reach their diversity peak in 1980 or 1990, they are few in number. Moreover, they experience a variety of post-peak trajectories other than monotonic diversity decline. Decreasing diversity is concentrated in the South and West, among places with higher levels of diversity and larger proportions of Hispanic or black residents at the beginning of the study period. These places exhibit complex shifts in racial–ethnic structure, but Hispanic succession predominates.


India’s Age Structure Transition, Sectoral Labor Productivities, and Economic Growth: Evidence and Implications Based on National Transfer Accounts

Abstract

Using the new methodology of National Transfer Accounts, this paper quantifies the economic impacts of age structure transition and productivity growth rate  on India’s economic growth over the period 2005–2050 by formal and informal sectors. Growth effects are captured by the first demographic dividend (FDD) and distinguished by sector-specific (a) productivity age profiles, (b) relative and absolute labor productivity growth rates, and (c) population distribution for the benchmark year during 2004–2005. Empirical results show that in the presence of these sector-specific differences, growth effects are higher and the sources of lower and slower FDD are attributable to lower productivity levels, growth rates of productivity, and growth rate of effective number of producers in informal sector. Further, throughout, growth effects of productivity are found to be stronger than the age structure transition. Sensitivity results show that growth effects can be remarkably higher at an annual rate of 17 % if benchmark output can be doubled in the informal sector, or FDD can be sustained up to 2050 if India’s productivity profile in formal (and informal) sector has a comparable shape with that of Japan/USA (and Philippines/Indonesia/Nigeria). Overall implications show that stronger policy efforts are required for improvement in productivity levels and growth in informal sector to maximize long-run economic growth through FDD. These new results and implications may be of relevance for formulation of age-structure and informal sector related growth promotion policies in other developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa.


The Relationship Between Duration of U.S. Residence, Educational Attainment, and Adult Health Among Asian Immigrants

Abstract

There is substantial educational heterogeneity among Asian immigrants to the United States, suggesting that the association between duration of U.S. residence with their health outcomes and behaviors may vary considerably by educational attainment. Using data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey (N = 2,373), we find strong evidence that the detrimental associations between duration of U.S. residence and self-reported health, activity limitation status, chronic health conditions, and current smoking are concentrated among Asian immigrants with less than a high school education; in contrast, the health outcomes and behaviors of Asian immigrants who have at least a high school degree exhibit very few differences by duration of U.S. residence. These distinct duration–health patterns by educational attainment are not explained by duration-related differences in country of origin, class of admission, or English speaking skills. We also find a stronger duration relationship with current smoking than those with the health status measures among the least educated Asian men, indicating a potential behaviorally based explanation for poorer health among Asian immigrant men with longer duration of residence.


Ethnicity and Labor Market Incorporation of Post-1990 Immigrants in Israel

Abstract

Using data from “The Immigrants Survey” we compare economic incorporation of four ethnic groups of immigrants who arrived to Israel between 1990 and 2007: Ethiopia, Western Europe and the Americas, Asia and North Africa, and the Former Soviet Union. Labor market incorporation is evaluated in terms of labor force participation, occupational attainment and earnings. The analysis reveals that regardless of ethnicity, when compared to native-born, immigrant women face greater disadvantages in the labor market than immigrant men. Further analysis reveals that immigrants from the Former Soviet Union are more likely to become economically active than the other groups; immigrants from Europe and the Americas have better access to high status occupations than do either immigrant Former Soviet Union or Asia and Africa and Ethiopia. Ethiopian immigrants are the most disadvantaged group in attainment of high status lucrative occupations and earnings. The findings point toward an ethnic hierarchy among post-1990 immigrants in Israel with European-Americans at the top, followed by Soviet immigrants, followed by immigrants from Asia–Africa and ending with Ethiopian immigrants at the bottom. The meaning of these findings for possibility of emergence of a more diversified and elaborated system of ethnic stratification is discussed in light of Israel’s immigration policy.


Teenage Cohabitation, Marriage, and Childbearing

Abstract

Cohabitation is an integral part of family research; however, little work examines cohabitation among teenagers or links between cohabitation and teenage childbearing. Drawing on the National Survey of Family Growth (2006–10), we examine family formation activities (i.e., cohabitation, marriage, and childbearing) of 3,945 15–19 year old women from the mid 1990s through 2010. One-third (34 %) of teenagers cohabit, marry, or have a child. Teenage cohabitation and marriage are both positively associated with higher odds of having a child. The vast majority of single pregnant teenagers do not form a union before the birth of their child; only 22 % cohabit and 5 % marry. Yet most single pregnant teenagers eventually cohabit, 59 % did so by the child’s third birthday and about 9 % marry. Cohabitation is an important part of the landscape of the adolescent years, and many teenage mothers described as “single mothers” are actually in cohabiting relationships.


Race-Ethnic Differences in the Non-marital Fertility Rates in 2006–2010

Abstract

Research in the 1980s pointed to the lower marriage rates of blacks as an important factor contributing to race differences in non-marital fertility. Our analyses update and extend this prior work to investigate whether cohabitation has become an important contributor to this variation. We use data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth to identify the relative contribution of population composition (i.e., percent sexually active single and percent cohabiting) versus rates (pregnancy rates, post-conception marriage rates) to race-ethnic variation in non-marital fertility rates (N = 7,428). We find that the pregnancy rate among single (not cohabiting) women is the biggest contributor to race-ethnic variation in the non-marital fertility rate and that contraceptive use patterns among racial minorities explain the majority of the race-ethnic differences in pregnancy rates.


Cigarette Smoking in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Unions: The Role of Socioeconomic and Psychological Factors

Abstract

Cigarette smoking has long been a target of public health intervention because it substantially contributes to morbidity and mortality. Individuals in different-sex marriages have lower smoking risk (i.e., prevalence and frequency) than different-sex cohabiters. However, little is known about the smoking risk of individuals in same-sex cohabiting unions. We compare the smoking risk of individuals in different-sex marriages, same-sex cohabiting unions, and different-sex cohabiting unions using pooled cross-sectional data from the 1997–2010 National Health Interview Surveys (N = 168,514). We further examine the role of socioeconomic status (SES) and psychological distress in the relationship between union status and smoking. Estimates from multinomial logistic regression models reveal that same-sex and different-sex cohabiters experience similar smoking risk when compared to one another, and higher smoking risk when compared to the different-sex married. Results suggest that SES and psychological distress factors cannot fully explain smoking differences between the different-sex married and same-sex and different-sex cohabiting groups. Moreover, without same-sex cohabiter’s education advantage, same-sex cohabiters would experience even greater smoking risk relative to the different-sex married. Policy recommendations to reduce smoking disparities among same-sex and different-sex cohabiters are discussed.


Demographic Characteristics of Lesbian Parents in the United States

Abstract

Most research on lesbian families draws on either nonrepresentative samples or on representative samples of female-partner households. In contrast, this article uses individual-level, nationally representative survey data to provide a demographic description of lesbian parents in the United States. Pooling data from the 2002 and 2006–2010 rounds of the National Survey of Family Growth yielded a sample of 15,784 women aged 20–44 years, about 1.3 % of whom are lesbians. Defining parents broadly to include legal and social parents, we find that about 23 % of lesbians are parents, compared to about 68 % of heterosexual and 56 % of bisexual women. Lesbians become parents through a more diverse set of pathways than other women, including adoption and parenting a spouse or partner’s child. Consistent with patterns in the broader population, but at odds with media portrayals, lesbian parents are more likely than lesbian nonparents to be women of color and foreign-born, and most appear to have become parents in prior heterosexual relationships. We found evidence, however, of a convergence in the pathways women follow to parenthood, with lesbians’ probability of biological parenthood increasing and their probability of adoptive or social parenthood decreasing between the two surveys. Recent changes in the legal and social context and improvements in medical technology provide grounds for speculating about this convergence. We recognize, however, that these speculations cannot be tested without population-based data collection efforts aimed at providing richer information on the diversity of family experiences in the contemporary United States.


Child Well-Being in Same-Sex Parent Families: Review of Research Prepared for American Sociological Association Amicus Brief

Abstract

Recent legal cases before the Supreme Court of the United States were challenging federal definitions of marriage created by the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s voter approved Proposition 8 which limited marriage to different-sex couples only. Social science literature regarding child well-being was being used within these cases, and the American Sociological Association sought to provide a concise evaluation of the literature through an amicus curiae brief. The authors were tasked in the assistance of this legal brief by reviewing literature regarding the well-being of children raised within same-sex parent families. This article includes our assessment of the literature, focusing on those studies, reviews and books published within the past decade. We conclude that there is a clear consensus in the social science literature indicating that American children living within same-sex parent households fare just, as well as those children residing within different-sex parent households over a wide array of well-being measures: academic performance, cognitive development, social development, psychological health, early sexual activity, and substance abuse. Our assessment of the literature is based on credible and methodologically sound studies that compare well-being outcomes of children residing within same-sex and different-sex parent families. Differences that exist in child well-being are largely due to socioeconomic circumstances and family stability. We discuss challenges and opportunities for new research on the well-being of children in same-sex parent families.


Research Note: US Census Same-Sex Couple Data: Adjustments to Reduce Measurement Error and Empirical Implications

Abstract

US Census same-sex couple data represent one of the richest and most frequently used data resources for studying the LGBT population. Recently, the Census Bureau conducted an analysis of a serious measurement problem in these data, finding that as many as 40 % of same-sex couples tabulated in Census 2000 and 28 % of those tabulated in Census 2010 were likely misclassified different-sex couples (O’Connell and Feliz, Bureau of the Census, 2011). As a result, the Census Bureau released new state-level “preferred” estimates for the number of same-sex couples in these years, as well as previously unavailable information regarding the error rate of sex misclassification among different-sex married and unmarried couples by state and year. Researchers can use this information to adjust same-sex couple tabulations for geographic areas below the state level. Using these resources, this study: (1) considers in greater detail how the properties of the same-sex couple error might affect statistical inference, (2) offers a method for developing sub-state estimates of same-sex couples, and (3) demonstrates how using adjusted estimates can improve inference in analyses that rely on understanding the distribution of same-sex couples. In order to accomplish the third task, we replicate an analysis by McVeigh and Diaz (American Sociological Review 74: 891–915, 2009) that used county level Census 2000 unadjusted same-sex couple data, substitute our adjusted same-sex couple estimate, and examine the way in which this substitution affects findings. Our results demonstrate the improved accuracy of the adjusted measure and provide the formula that researchers can use to adjust the same-sex couple distribution in future analyses.


Examining Sexual Orientation Disparities in Unmet Medical Needs Among Men and Women

Abstract

Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 13,810), this study examines disparities in unmet medical needs by sexual orientation identity during young adulthood. We use binary logistic regression and expand Andersen’s health care utilization framework to identify factors that shape disparities in unmet medical needs by sexual orientation. We also investigate whether the well-established gender disparity in health-seeking behaviors among heterosexual persons holds for sexual minorities. The results show that sexual minority women are more likely to report unmet medical needs than heterosexual women, but no differences are found between sexual minority and heterosexual men. Moreover, we find a reversal in the gender disparity between heterosexual and sexual minority populations: heterosexual women are less likely to report unmet medical needs than heterosexual men, whereas sexual minority women are more likely to report unmet medical needs compared to sexual minority men. Finally, this work advances Andersen’s model by articulating the importance of including social psychological factors for reducing disparities in unmet medical needs by sexual orientation for women.


Introduction: Population Perspectives on Sexual Minorities

Abstract

Population scientists investigate a multitude of important issues surrounding demographic trends and change. Yet, sexual minorities—including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons—continue to represent an understudied group in population-based research. This has both social and political implications, as it hampers our ability to identify and locate where sexual minorities fall along the spectrum of issues typically investigated by demographers. This special issue includes important population-level studies aimed at understanding the demographic landscape for sexual minorities. Though not an exhaustive list, these include family organization, health disparities, educational attainment, and important implications for measurement and estimation. Perhaps more important, these studies also provide a roadmap that population scientists can use to help develop areas ripe for inquiry.


Educational Attainment by Life Course Sexual Attraction: Prevalence and Correlates in a Nationally Representative Sample of Young Adults

Abstract

Researchers know relatively little about the educational attainment of sexual minorities, despite the fact that educational attainment is consistently associated with a range of social, economic, and health outcomes. We examined whether sexual attraction in adolescence and early adulthood was associated with educational attainment in early adulthood among a nationally representative sample of US young adults. We analyzed waves I and IV restricted data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 14,111). Sexual orientation was assessed using self-reports of romantic attraction in waves I (adolescence) and IV (adulthood). Multinomial regression models were estimated and all analyses were stratified by gender. Women attracted to the same-sex in adulthood only had lower educational attainment compared to women attracted only to the opposite-sex in adolescence and adulthood. Men attracted to the same-sex in adolescence only had lower educational attainment compared to men attracted only to the opposite-sex in adolescence and adulthood. Adolescent experiences and academic performance attenuated educational disparities among men and women. Adjustment for adolescent experiences also revealed a suppression effect; women attracted to the same-sex in adolescence and adulthood had lower predicted probabilities of having a high school diploma or less compared to women attracted only to the opposite-sex in adolescence and adulthood. Our findings challenge previous research documenting higher educational attainment among sexual minorities in the US. Additional population-based studies documenting the educational attainment of sexual-minority adults are needed.