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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
International migration has long been considered the preserve of working-age adults. However, the rapid diversification of the elderly population calls for increased attention to the migration patterns of this group and its possible motivations. This study examines whether Latin American immigrants who are primary Social Security beneficiaries are more likely to return to their home countries during later life if they receive lower Social Security benefits. Using a regression discontinuity approach on restricted data from the US Social Security Administration (N = 1,515), this study presents the results of a natural experiment whereby the Social Security Administration unexpectedly lowered the Social Security benefits of the 1917–1921 birth cohorts due to a miscalculation in the benefit-calculation formula. Results suggest that approximately 10 % of primary Social Security beneficiaries from Latin America born close to these dates return migrated, the probability of which was not affected by Social Security benefit levels.
The literature on immigrant assimilation highlights the imperfect portability of the human capital acquired by immigrants in their country of origin, which accounts for their low levels of labor market integration upon arrival in the new country, as well as their initially wide earnings gap. Recent studies have examined this issue from the perspective of overeducation. This study analyzes the portability of immigrants’ human capital into the Spanish job market according to their geographic origin. Spain’s immigrants originate from a highly varied range of countries, with origins as diverse as Latin America, the Maghreb, and Eastern Europe. Here, the use of public microdata files from the Spanish Census permits us to identify up to six regions of immigrant origin comprising developed countries and developing economies, distinguishing, furthermore, different regions of origin on the basis of their language and level of development. The results obtained indicate differing degrees of transferability of human capital depending on geographic origin, with transferability being greater for immigrants from countries that are highly developed or which have a similar culture or language and lower for those from developing countries and with more distant cultures. As an immigrant’s period of residence in Spain is prolonged, integration does take place but the pace is slow (between 7 and 9 years).
With increases in nonmarital fertility, the sequencing of transitions in early adulthood has become even more complex. Once the primary transition out of the parental home, marriage was first replaced by nonfamily living and cohabitation; more recently, many young adults have become parents before entering a coresidential union. Studies of leaving home, however, have not examined the role of early parenthood. Using the Young Adult Study of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 4,674), we use logistic regression to analyze parenthood both as a correlate of leaving home and as a route from the home. We find that even in mid-adolescence, becoming a parent is linked with leaving home. Coming from a more affluent family is linked with leaving home via routes that do not involve children rather than those that do, and having a warm relationship with either a mother or a father retards leaving home, particularly to nonfamily living, but is not related to parental routes out of the home.
During the 1980s and 1990s, two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries adopted national population policies to reduce population growth. Based on multivariate statistical analysis, I show that countries with more ties to the world polity were more likely to adopt population policies. In order to refine world polity theory, however, I distinguish between normative and coercive ties to the world polity. I show that ties to the world polity via international nongovernmental organizations became predictive of population policy adoption only after the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development institutionalized reproductive health as a global norm to which countries could show adherence through population policies. Ties to the World Bank in the form of indebtedness, presumed to be coercive, were associated with population policy adoption throughout the time period observed. Gross domestic product per capita, democracy, and religion also all predicted population policy adoption. The case of population policy adoption in sub-Saharan Africa thus demonstrates that ties to organizations likely to exert normative pressure are most influential when something about international norms is at stake, while ties to organizations with coercive capacity matter regardless of time, but may be easier for wealthier countries to resist.
We use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 as well as neighborhood data from the 2000 U.S. Census to examine relationships between neighborhood Mexican immigrant concentration and reading (n = 820) and mathematics (n = 1,540) achievement among children of Mexican descent. Mixed-effects growth curves show that children living in immigrant-rich communities enter school at an achievement disadvantage relative to children in neighborhoods with fewer coethnic immigrant families. However, these disparities are driven by lower-SES families’ concentration in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods as well as these neighborhoods’ structural disadvantages. Controlling for children’s generation status and socioeconomic status, as well as neighborhood-level measures of structural disadvantage, safety, and social support, neighborhood immigrant concentration demonstrates a modest positive association with mathematics achievement among children of Mexican immigrant parents at the time of school entry. However, we do not find strong positive associations between Mexican American children’s rate of achievement growth over the elementary and middle school years and their neighborhoods’ concentration of Mexican immigrants.
Our paper focuses on the realization of fertility intentions, exploring a new aspect of the post-communist fertility transition. By making use of a follow-up study, it was possible to compare five European countries and to analyze the chances of realizing short-term, time-dependent fertility intentions. There is always a difference between intention and behavior. It is partly due to demographic and social factors, such as age, parity, partnership status, but once these are accounted for, important differences remain between western European and post-communist countries. In the period after the turn of the millennium, chances of realizing intentions are significantly lower in post-communist countries than in western European countries. The lower chance of realization is a consequence of social anomie originating from discrepancy between slow value shift and the increased dynamism of structural changes.
Efforts to estimate various sociodemographic variables in small geographic areas are proving difficult with the replacement of the Census long-form with the American Community Survey (ACS). Researchers interested in subnational demographic processes have previously relied on Census 2000 long-form data products in order to answer research questions. ACS data products promise to begin providing up-to-date profiles of the nation’s population and economy; however, unit- and item-level nonresponse in the ACS have left researchers with gaps in subnational coverage resulting in unstable and unreliable estimates for basic demographic measures. Borrowing information from neighboring areas and across time with a spatiotemporal smoothing process based on Bayesian statistical methods, it is possible to generate more stable and accurate estimates of rates for geographic areas not represented in the ACS. This research evaluates this spatiotemporal smoothing process in its ability to derive estimates of poverty rates at the county level for the contiguous United States. These estimates are then compared to more traditional estimates produced by the US Census Bureau, and comparisons between the two methods of estimation are carried out to evaluate the practical application of this smoothing method. Our findings suggest that by using available data from the ACS only, we are able to recreate temporal and spatial patterns of poverty in US counties even in years where data are sparse. Results show that the Bayesian methodology strongly agrees with the estimates produced by the SAIPE program, even in years with little data. This methodology can be expanded to other demographic and socioeconomic data with ease.
This article investigates, for the case of Spain, to what extent the introduction in March 2007 of a non-transferable 13-day paternity leave has encouraged men to make greater use of childbirth leave. Data were drawn from the Spanish Economically Active Population Survey, covering the period 2005–2009. We use a natural experiment approach, comparing the behavior of wage earners fathers with children of less than 1 year of age before and after the reform and using mothers as control group. After estimating a difference-in-differences logistic regression model we obtain statistical evidence that there is a higher percentage of males on leave in the reference week in the post-reform period (after 2007). The article also analyzes some of the personal and socio-economic determinants of the fathers’ use of childbirth leave. Fathers are more likely to be on leave if they have stability in employment, if there are facilities for reconciling work and family life (working in the public sector) and if the partner is employed. The father’s age has an interesting U-shaped influence.
Disasters provide opportunities to study the social and economic dimensions of large-scale shifts. Drawn by the surge in demand for low-skill construction workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Latino immigrants represented a substantial share of the New Orleans reconstruction workforce. Scholars, however, have yet to examine how the increased presence of immigrants affected U.S.-born workers in New Orleans. In this analysis, we investigate how the influx of Latino immigrant construction workers shaped the demographic composition and occupational-wage structure of the New Orleans construction sector. Using IPUMS-U.S.A. data from the 2000 and 2006–2010 periods for the New Orleans MSA, we employ logistic and multinomial logistic regression models to analyze a sample of 3,206 foreign-born Latinos, U.S.-born whites, U.S.-born blacks, and others employed in the construction industry. Our analysis indicates that the probability of U.S.-born workers being employed in construction remained stable from the pre- to post-storm period, even as we find evidence of an emerging immigrant employment niche in the post-Katrina construction industry. After the storm, however, Latino immigrants were much more heavily concentrated in occupations at the bottom end of the construction industry’s wage structure, while the relative position of U.S.-born workers improved across the two periods. Together, these findings show that disasters, like other structural shifts, can yield the conditions that produce immigrant employment niches. Moreover, our results indicate that while employment niches provide economic opportunities for the foreign-born, they can also intensify the disadvantage experienced by immigrant workers.
To examine change from 1991 to 2001 in disability-free life expectancy in the age range 60–90 by gender, race, and education in the United States. Mortality is estimated over two 10-year follow-up periods for persons in the National Health Interview Surveys of 1986/1987 and 1996/1997. Vital status is ascertained through the National Death Index. Disability prevalence is estimated from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of 1988–1994 and 1999–2002. Disability is defined as ability to perform four activities of daily living without difficulty. Disability-free life expectancy increased only among white men. Disabled life expectancy increased for all groups—black and white men and women. Racial differences in disability-free life expectancy widened among men; gender differences were reduced among whites. Expansion of socioeconomic differentials in disability-free life at older ages occurred among white men and women and black women. The 1990s was a period where the increased years of life between ages 60 and 90 were concentrated in disabled years for most population groups.
The dispersion of immigrants has challenged educators in new immigrant destinations to adapt to the needs of their first cohorts of children of immigrants. This paper evaluates how families, schools, and neighborhoods shape the academic adaptation of immigrants’ children in new and established immigrant states. Using the Educational Longitudinal Study from 2002, the paper examines how 10th grade math and reading test scores differ across three settlement locations: established, new, and other immigrant states. Results indicate that achievement in math and reading is the highest in new immigrant states. While demographic differences between settlement locations largely explained differences in achievement, families and schools in new immigrant states also strongly influenced achievement.
The Census Bureau’s demographic analysis (DA) shows that the net undercount rate for children aged 0–4 was 4.6 percent in the 2010 U.S. Decennial Census while adults (age 18 and older) had a net overcount rate of 0.7 percent. For the population aged 0–4, DA estimates are seen as more accurate than the U.S. Decennial Census because the estimates for this young population rely heavily on highly accurate birth certificate data. Given the relatively high net undercount rate for young children, it would be useful to examine census coverage rates for this population in subnational geographic units. In this study, the 2010 U.S. Decennial Census counts of children aged 0–4 are compared to the corresponding figures from the Census Bureau’s Vintage 2010 Population Estimates in each state. Differences between the 2010 U.S. Decennial Census count and the Vintage 2010 Population Estimates for the population aged 0–4 range from an estimated net undercount of 10.2 percent in Arizona to an estimated net overcount of 2.1 percent in North Dakota. Larger states tended to have higher net undercounts than smaller states. The ten largest states account for about 70 percent of the national net undercount of the population aged 0–4. Of all the factors examined here, the relative size of the Blacks Alone or in Combination plus Hispanics population is most highly correlated with the estimated net undercount of the population aged 0–4. Other measures that were highly correlated with net undercount rates for the population aged 0–4 were linguistic isolation, percent of adults without a high school degree, and the unemployment rate. In general, characteristics of people are more highly correlated with the net undercount rates of young children than the characteristics of housing units.
As urbanization rates rise globally, it becomes increasingly important to understand the factors associated with urban out-migration. In this paper, we examine the drivers of urban out-migration among young adults in two medium-sized cities in the Brazilian Amazon—Altamira and Santarém—focusing on the roles of social capital, human capital, and socioeconomic deprivation. Using household survey data from 1,293 individuals in the two cities, we employ an event history model to assess factors associated with migration and a binary logit model to understand factors associated with remitting behavior. We find that in Altamira, migration tends to be an individual-level opportunistic strategy fostered by extra-local family networks, while in Santarém, migration tends to be a household-level strategy driven by socioeconomic deprivation and accompanied by remittances. These results indicate that urban out-migration in Brazil is a diverse social process, and that the relative roles of extra-local networks versus economic need can function quite differently between geographically proximate but historically and socioeconomically distinct cities.