15 Aug 2018

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Disparities in Children’s Family Experiences by Mother’s Socioeconomic Status: The Case of Finland

Abstract

A well-known argument claims that socioeconomic differentials in children’s family structures have become increasingly important in shaping child outcomes and the resources available to children in developed societies. One assumption is that differentials are comparatively small in Nordic welfare states. Our study examines how children’s experiences of family structures and family dynamics vary by their mother’s educational attainment in Finland. Based on register data on the childbearing and union histories of women in Finland born from 1969 onwards, we provide life-table estimates of children’s (N = 64,162) experiences of family dissolution, family formation, and family structure from ages 0–15 years, stratified by mother’s education level at the child’s birth. We find huge socioeconomic disparities in children’s experiences of family structures and transitions. Compared to children of highly educated mothers, children of mothers with low levels of education are almost twice as likely to be born in cohabitation and four times as likely to be born to a lone mother. They are also much more likely to experience further changes in family structure—particularly parental separation. On average, children of low-educated mothers spend just half of their childhood years living with both their parents, whereas those of high-educated mothers spend four-fifths of their childhood with both parents. The sociodemographic inequalities among children in Nordic welfare states clearly deserve more scholarly attention.


Editors’ Introduction


SNAP Benefits and Pregnancy-Related Emergency Room Visits

Abstract

Pregnant women are likely to be sensitive to daily fluctuations in nutritional intake. To see if income constraints at the end of the month limit food consumption and trigger health problems, we examine how the date that benefits are issued for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) changes the probability that a woman will go to the Emergency Room (ER) for pregnancy-related conditions using administrative data from SNAP and Medicaid from Missouri for 2010–2013. SNAP benefits in Missouri are distributed from the 1st through the 22nd day of the month based on the birth month and the first letter of the last name of the head of the household, making timing of SNAP issuance exogenous. We estimate probit models of the calendar month and SNAP benefit month on the probability of a pregnancy-related ER visit for women age 17–45, or the sample at risk of being pregnant. We also examine the relationship between SNAP benefit levels and ER visits. We found that women who received SNAP benefits in the second or third week of the calendar month were less likely to receive pregnancy-related care through the ER in the week following benefit receipt. Results suggest that SNAP benefits might be related to patterns of pregnancy-related medical care accessed through the ER. Since SNAP issuance date is within state control in the United States, states may want to consider the health effects of their choice.


Business Cycles, Medicaid Generosity, and Birth Outcomes

Abstract

Birth outcomes influence many aspects of later life health and wellbeing, making healthcare access during pregnancy a policy priority. Low-income mothers often depend on Medicaid, for which eligibility is determined by their income relative to state eligibility thresholds. The prevalence of adverse birth outcomes is known to exhibit cyclical variation, due in part to changes in the composition of women giving birth in response to changing economic conditions. However, cyclical variation in adverse birth outcomes also varies with respect to Medicaid eligibility thresholds. Our analysis uses birth-records data for 2000 through 2013, aggregated into 173,936 county-by-quarter observations and linked to county-level unemployment rates and state-level parental Medicaid thresholds. Using fixed-effects negative binomial models, we examine the role of Medicaid generosity in influencing birth outcomes across business cycles. We test for interactions between Medicaid and unemployment, hypothesizing that the negative effects of recessions are worse where Medicaid thresholds are more restrictive. We find that higher Medicaid generosity dampens the negative effects of recessions on birth outcomes. The extent to which Medicaid interacts with unemployment also varies according to the age and race composition of mothers; in particular, Black mothers are both most affected by unemployment and most responsive to Medicaid generosity. Given current concerns about racial gaps in both infant and maternal mortality, our findings suggest that Medicaid may be an important feature of a strategy to close gaps in the prevalence of adverse birth outcomes across racial groups, especially during bust years.


Changing Life Expectancy and Health Expectancy Among Russian Adults: Results from the Past 20 Years

Abstract

The decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union was characterized by wide fluctuations in Russian mortality rates, but since the early 2000s, life expectancy has improved progressively. Recent upturns in longevity have promoted policy debates over extending the retirement age in the country. However, whether observed gains in life expectancy are accompanied by improving health remains to be addressed. Using data from the 1994–2014 Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics, this study investigates trends over 20 years in healthy life expectancy (HLE) and illness-free life expectancy (IFLE) for men and women at adult ages. Analyses using the Sullivan method show that men and women at adult ages have experienced large increases in health expectancies during the post-Soviet period. Increases in HLE exceeded increases in total life expectancy for both genders. Further, health expectancies have evolved over time through cycles of increases and decreases, just like life expectancy. These results suggest increases in good-quality years among men and women at working ages, offering support for changing the official retirement age. The extent of the change in the retirement age, however, needs to be carefully considered, given that, despite recent improvements, the health expectancy of the Russian population still remains low.


Subsequent Migration of Immigrants Within Australia, 1981–2016

Abstract

Australia is a major immigration country and immigrants currently represent around 28% of the total population. The aim of this research is to understand the long-term consequences of this immigration and, particularly, how migrants respond to opportunities within the country after arriving through the process of subsequent (internal) migration. The focus is on major immigrant groups in Australia, including persons born in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China and India, and how their patterns differ from persons born in Australia. To conduct this analysis, we have gathered data for a 35-year period based on quinquennial census data. We also obtained birthplace-specific mortality data for constructing multiregional life tables for the immigrant populations. Subsequent migration is important for understanding population redistribution, and the relative attractiveness of destinations within host countries. Our results highlight the importance of subsequent migration and the diversity of migration behaviours amongst different immigrant groups in the context of overall declines in internal migration since 1981.


Veteran Status, Income, and Intergenerational Mobility Across Three Cohorts of American Men

Abstract

Existing research linking prior military employment with labor market outcomes has focused on comparing the relative income of veterans and nonveterans. However, people who join the armed forces are uniquely selected from the broader population, and the form and direction of selectivity has shifted over time, with differential enlistment rates by race, region, and socioeconomic status. Understanding changes in the demographic composition of enlistees and veterans has significant import for the study of social mobility, particularly given changes in the occupational structure since the mid-twentieth century and wage stagnation well into the new millennium. Furthermore, labor market polarization and increases in educational attainment since WWII raise additional concerns about the social origins of military personnel and their occupational trajectories after discharge. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys, we investigate how social background is linked to both income and occupational mobility among veterans from three cohorts of American men: World War II, Vietnam, and the All-Volunteer Force. We find few benefits for veterans, for either income or intergenerational occupational mobility, once social background is controlled, suggesting that selection into the armed forces largely governs outcomes in the civilian labor market. Our findings have significant importance for understanding civilian labor market outcomes and trajectories of social mobility during distinct phases of military staffing.


Who Goes to College, Military, Prison, or Long-Term Unemployment? Racialized School-to-Labor Market Transitions Among American Men

Abstract

This paper analyzes the selection processes behind post-schooling transitions into college enrollment, military service, long-term unemployment, and incarceration relative to civilian employment, examining to what extent these processes are racialized. Rather than analyzing a complete set of alternatives, previous research typically focuses on a limited set of these alternatives at a time, and rarely accounts for incarceration or long-term unemployment. Using individual-level panel data on the first post-high school transition from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 Cohort, results show that white men experience positive transitions (college enrollment and military service) at higher rates and for longer periods than black men, who experience negative transitions (long-term unemployment and incarceration) at higher rates for longer periods than whites. Competing risk Cox regression analyses reveal that blacks’ transitions are polarized, showing that blacks in the upper distributions of standardized test scores and socioeconomic status are more likely to pursue a college education relative to their white counterparts, whereas blacks in the bottom of the standardized test score and socioeconomic status distribution are more likely to experience negative transitions than whites. Unlike prior research finding that military service provided “bridging careers” for racial minorities, black men are no longer more likely to join the military than whites. Instead, blacks now face a much higher risk of incarceration. Implications for intra-generational mobility and changing opportunity structures for racial minorities are discussed.


A Few Good Men and Women: Gender, Race, and Status in the Wartime Volunteer Military

Abstract

Much is known about the men who entered the US military during draft era wars and the peacetime volunteer era. Relatively less is known about those who turned 18 during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalists, advocates, and politicians have expressed concern that wartime volunteer service has been inequitable. Yet there is apparently only one peer-reviewed article that explores the socioeconomic characteristics of the men who came of age after the start of the recent wars, and none that evaluate how race and status of female recruits varied. To assess these questions, the following article develops a theoretical model building on the status attainment and life course traditions. It uses data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which contains information about a national sample of people who became eligible to join the armed forces during the height of the wartime volunteer era. It does not find evidence that low-status and minority men were disproportionately likely to enlist. Indeed, those with low-status were less likely to do so, partly because they were excluded by military standards. Men were particularly unlikely to join the armed forces, however, if they grew up in high-status rather than families in the middle of the status distribution. By contrast, women were most likely to join the armed forces if they came from the lower-middle than from anywhere else in the status distribution. Minority men were no more likely than white men to enlist, but black women were disproportionately likely to join the military.


Fertility and Infertility: Toward an Integrative Research Agenda

Abstract

In this article, we show that social science research on fertility and infertility consists of largely separate research traditions, despite shared interest in pregnancies and births (or lack thereof). We describe four ways these two traditions differ: (1) publication trajectories and outlets, (2) fields of study and major theoretical frameworks, (3) degree of attention to the other topic, and (4) language and definitions used. We then discuss why future integration of these bodies of research would be beneficial, outline potential steps toward rapprochement, and provide common areas of dialogue that could facilitate and enrich these bodies of research. We offer a more holistic framework using the reproductive career as an extension of existing lifecourse approaches in both fertility and infertility research. We conclude with a brief empirical example and discussion of methodological issues for measuring and modeling reproductive careers.


Estimating Recent Local Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on Current Real-Estate Losses: A Housing Market Case Study in Miami-Dade, Florida

Abstract

Sea-Level Rise (SLR) Projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) indicate increasing, and imminent, risk to coastal communities from tidal flooding and hurricane storm surge. Building on recent research related to the potential demographic impacts of such changes (Hauer et al. 2016, in Nat Clim Chang 3:802–806, 2017; Neumann et al. 2015; Curtis and Schneider in Popul Environ 33:28–54, 2011), localized flooding projections in the Miami Beach area (Wdowinski et al. in Ocean Coast Manag 126:1–8, 2016) and projected economic losses associated with this rise in projected SLR (Fu et al. Ocean Coast Manag 133:11–17, 2016); this research investigates the accrued current cost, in terms of real-estate dollars lost, due to recurrent tidal flooding and projected increases of flooding in Miami-Dade County. Most directly related to this line of research, Keenan et al. (2018) have recently produced results indicating that Climate Gentrification is taking place in Miami, FL with higher elevations in flood prone areas appreciating at a higher rate. In that vein of thinking, we seek to answer a question posed by such research: What is the actual accrued loss to sea-level rise over the recent past? To answer this question, we replicate well-documented estimation methods by combining publicly available sea-level rise projections, tide gauge trends, and property lot elevation data to identify areas regularly at risk of flooding. Combining recent patterns of flooding inundation with future forecasts, we find that properties projected to be inundated with tidal flooding in 2032 have lost $3.08 each year on each square foot of living area, and properties near roads that will be inundated with tidal flooding in 2032 have lost $3.71 each year on each square foot of living area. These effects total over $465 million in lost real-estate market value between 2005 and 2016 in the Miami-Dade area.


Subjective Health Assessments Among Older Adults in Mexico

Abstract

The validity of the general self-rated health (SRH) assessment is well established; however, there are empirical questions as to the utility of health assessment measures that employ more refined comparisons. The aim of this study is to examine subjective health assessment measures in comparison to the most widely used SRH measure (Global SRH) among men and women. We investigate agreement between these measures, by gender, and their correspondence with objective health conditions using a sample of adults over the age of 60 from the 2006 La Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición (ENSANUT). ENSANUT is a nationally representative, repeated cross-sectional Mexican survey (n = 5511) and advantageous given its inclusion of three distinct subjective health assessment questions including: global self-rated health, self-rated heath today, and 12-month self-rated health. First, we descriptively examine demographic characteristics of the sample and the degree of correspondence between health ratings. Then, we explore congruence between objective health conditions and subjective-health ratings within each SRH measure. We estimate three ordered logistic regression models testing responses on a three-point scale and use predicted probabilities for interpretation. Our findings reaffirm the role of physical health conditions as strong predictors of poor SRH and highlight the significance of mental health as a determinant of subjective health in this sample of older Mexican adults. We caution that future research examining older adults’ health should carefully consider the type of subjective health assessment used.


Parental Leave Take-Up of Fathers in Luxembourg

Abstract

The study uses administrative data from Luxembourg to investigate fathers’ decisions to use parental leave. We focus on two measures of opportunity cost: the difference between the parental leave benefit and the salary of the father and the mean salary growth for a period of 6 months for each father. The first measure captures the direct opportunity cost, while the second is a proxy for foregone promotion opportunities. We use Cox proportional hazards model for the analysis. The results suggest a negative relationship between foregone income and taking parental leave. Surprisingly, salary growth appears to be positively related to the hazard of taking parental leave. Coefficients of control variables are in line with previous findings: fathers are more likely to use parental leave if they work in larger organization and for the first child.


Geographic Variation in Sex Ratios of the US Immigrant Population: Identifying Sources of Difference

Abstract

This paper describes geographic variation in the sex composition of the foreign-born population in the US since 1990, and uses Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition to identify key sources of variation in regional sex ratios. We use data from the 1990 and 2000 US Censuses, and from the 2007–2011 American Community Survey, to create estimates of the size and characteristics of foreign-born populations at the level of Consistent Public-Use Microdata Areas. We find substantial local- and region-level variation in population sex ratios, with the highest sex ratios in the South and Midwest. This variation is partly explained by differences in the age- and national origin-composition of immigrants, but the effects of immigration history, age, and national origin on sex ratio vary substantially by region. The West in particular stands out as having high levels of unexplained difference from other regions. Future research is necessary to understand these regional differences in gendered immigration patterns.


Heterogeneity in Educational Pathways and the Health Behavior of U.S. Young Adults

Abstract

An increasing number of U.S. adults are progressing through college in decidedly more complex ways. Little is known, however, about how this growing heterogeneity may be associated with the health behaviors and ultimately health of young adults. Using a life course perspective, we investigate whether and why different educational pathways—that is, variation in when people attend and complete school—are associated with daily smoking and binge drinking among U.S. young adults. We use 14 waves (1997–2011) of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort (n = 7359) that enable us to identify the most common educational pathways, as well as their association with young adult health behaviors. Bachelor’s degree recipients who enrolled immediately after high school but did not attain their degree within 4 years were more likely to smoke daily in early adulthood (i.e., ages 26–32) than those who enrolled in college immediately after high school and attained a bachelor’s degree within 4 years. Conversely, bachelor’s degree recipients who delayed college enrollment were less likely to binge drink in early adulthood than individuals who enrolled in college immediately after high school and attained a bachelor’s degree within 4 years. Marital status and household income in young adulthood accounted for some of the relationships between educational pathways and health behavior. These findings highlight the complexity of education’s relationship to health behavior and strongly suggest that heterogeneity in educational pathways should be explicitly examined in population health research.


Pregnancy Medicaid Expansions and Fertility: Differentiating Between the Intensive and Extensive Margins

Abstract

The theoretical and empirical links between public health insurance access and fertility in the United States remain unclear. Utilizing a demographic cell-based estimation approach with panel data (1987–1997), we revisit the large-scale Medicaid expansions to pregnant women during the 1980s to estimate the heterogeneous impacts of public health insurance access on childbirth. While the decision to become a parent (i.e., the extensive margin) appears to be unaffected by increased access to Medicaid, we find that increased access to public health insurance positively influenced the number of high parity births (i.e., the intensive margin) for select groups of women. In particular, we find a robust, positive birth effect for unmarried women with a high school education, a result which is consistent across the two racial groups examined in our analysis: African American and white women. This result suggests that investigating effects along both the intensive and extensive margin is important for scholars who study the natalist effects of social welfare policies, and our evidence provides a more nuanced understanding of the influence of public health insurance on fertility.


Parents’ Preferences for Sex of Children in Sweden: Attitudes and Outcomes

Abstract

It has been argued that preferences for the sex of children would be small or non‐existing in relatively gender equal societies. However, previous studies have suggested that a stronger preference for having daughter exists in Scandinavian countries, which are frequently noted for being among the most gender equal societies in the world. Combining new register data on birth rates by sex of the previous children and recent survey data on couples’ stated preferences for the sex of children, we show that the preference for daughters has increased in Sweden over the last decade. In addition to the stronger preference for having daughters among two‐child mothers documented in previous research, our findings show that during the previous decade this preference was noticeable also among one‐child parents. Despite Swedish society being known for holding gender equal social norms, interviewed parents openly expressed some degree of preference for having daughters over sons.


Intergenerational Educational Mobility During Expansion Reform: Evidence from Mexico

Abstract

How does intergenerational educational mobility change under educational expansion? This paper examines this question in Mexico, which enacted two important school expansion plans between 1959 and 1992. Using the 2011 Mexican Social Mobility Survey, I analyze how intergenerational mobility changes under different phases of expansion reform, and how do these trends vary according to the particular stage of the schooling process. Main findings indicate that mobility patterns are not stalled across cohorts, as reproduction theories predict. However, they do not reflect equalization at all levels of education either, as modernization hypotheses anticipate. Expansion reforms, especially the “11-year plan,” are associated with positive trends in mobility in primary and lower-secondary schooling, but also with a decrease in intergenerational mobility at higher levels of education. Thus, these findings are consistent with the maximally maintained inequality hypothesis.


Towards Conceptualizing and Empirically Examining Legacy of Place: An Exploratory Consideration of Historic Neighborhood Characteristics on Contemporary Dropout Behavior

Abstract

The study presented here has two main purposes. First, we introduce a novel conceptualization of neighborhood effects that includes historical characteristics of place as independent influencers on individual outcomes. Second, we provide two empirical examples of this concept by analyzing the influence that historic neighborhood dropout and poverty rates have on contemporary dropout behavior. Using multilevel logistic models, we find that students living in neighborhoods marked with a dropout or poverty legacy are over 16% more likely to drop out compared to students living outside of these areas. The influence of legacy of place remains even when controlling for contemporary neighborhood attributes including current dropout and poverty rates. The findings set the stage for future conceptual and empirical work that considers the historical development of place as it relates to the impact that these histories have for contemporary individuals.


Demography in the Big Data Revolution: Changing the Culture to Forge New Frontiers

Abstract

Despite the widespread and rapidly growing popularity of Big Data, researchers have yet to agree on what the concept entails, what tools are still needed to best interrogate these data, whether or not Big Data’s emergence represents a new academic field or simply a set of tools, and how much confidence we can place on results derived from Big Data. Despite these ambiguities, most would agree that Big Data and the methods for analyzing it represent a remarkable potential for advancing social science knowledge. In my Presidential address to the Southern Demographic Association, I argue that demographers have long collected and analyzed Big Data in a small way, by parsing out the points of information that we can manipulate with familiar models and restricting analyses to what typical computing systems can handle or restricted-access data disseminators will allow. In order to better interrogate the data we already have, we need to change the culture of demography to treat demographic microdata as Big. This includes shaping the definition of Big Data, changing how we conceptualize models, and re-evaluating how we silo confidential data.