23 Aug 2017

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Race Disparities in Pubertal Timing: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among African American Women

Abstract

Compared to white girls, sexual maturation is accelerated in African American girls as measured by indicators of pubertal development, including age at first menses. Increasing epidemiological evidence suggests that the timing of pubertal development may have strong implications for cardio-metabolic health in adolescence and adulthood. In fact, younger menarcheal age has been related prospectively to poorer cardiovascular risk factor profiles, a worsening of these profiles over time, and an increase in risk for cardiovascular events, including non-fatal incident cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular-specific and all-cause mortality. Yet, because this literature has been limited almost exclusively to white girls/women, whether this same association is present among African American girls/women has not been clarified. In the current narrative review, the well-established vulnerability of African American girls to experience earlier pubertal onset is discussed as are findings from literatures examining the health outcomes of earlier pubertal timing and its antecedents, including early life adversity exposures often experienced disproportionately in African American girls. Gaps in these literatures are highlighted especially with respect to the paucity of research among minority girls/women, and a conceptual framework is posited suggesting disparities in pubertal timing between African American and white girls may partially contribute to well-established disparities in adulthood risk for cardio-metabolic disease between African American and white women. Future research in these areas may point to novel areas for intervention in preventing or lessening the heightened cardio-metabolic risk among African American women, an important public health objective.


The Discrepancy Between Ideal and Actual Parity in Hong Kong: Fertility Desire, Intention, and Behavior

Abstract

The total fertility rate of Hong Kong has remained below 1.3 children per woman for about three decades, but it is still unknown whether this ultra-low fertility is driven by a downward shift in people’s fertility desires, or by low fertility intention. This study investigates the fertility desires and fertility intentions of married women via a parity-specific approach, using data from the knowledge, attitude, and practice survey conducted in 2012. The results show that the average ideal parity has shifted to sub-replacement level, indicating that the “two-child family” ideal is waning. The logistic regressions show that the determinants of low fertility intentions vary across parities: marital life satisfaction, household income, and good communication with husbands regarding childbearing are positively associated with first-birth intentions; wives’ part-time work depresses second-birth intentions; wives’ full-time work and gender inequality in the division of housework are negatively associated with third-birth intentions. It is noteworthy that fertility desire has become a strong predictor of fertility intention—especially related to first and second births, independent of other socioeconomic factors. Motivations for childbearing and difficulties in childrearing also differ across actual parities. These results should be applicable to women in other high-income Asian countries. The formulation of any pronatalist policy in Hong Kong should consider these parity-specific differences to enhance its effectiveness.


The Integration of Immigrant Youth in Schools and Friendship Networks

Abstract

This study examines the degree to which immigrant youth are integrated in school settings at the dyadic (reciprocity and isolation), network (popularity, centrality, social status), and institutional levels (connection to school, extracurricular activities). The study includes 43,123 youth across 64 schools with immigrant populations from the 1994–1995 Wave I in-school survey of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Survey-weighted logistic, negative binomial, and linear regression models were used to estimate the effects of race/ethnicity, immigrant generation, friendship composition, and school composition on integration at dyadic, network, and institutional levels. In general, the success of second-generation youth in navigating their school social contexts provides evidence of positive processes of immigrant integration. However, important differences across racial and ethnic groups suggest that these successes are most prominent for Asian youth, while other groups may not experience processes of social integration equally. In addition, same race/ethnicity friendships functioned to facilitate social integration, while same-generation friendships placed youth from immigrant families at increased risk for marginalization. Results highlight the need for schools to consider how to build connections across immigrant generations and to draw on the strengths of immigrant youth to contribute to school communities.


Continued Success or Caught in the Housing Bubble? Black Immigrants and the Housing Market Crash

Abstract

The recent housing market crisis in the United States led to a drastic drop in homeownership and house values nationwide. While research documents the disproportionate impact of the housing market crisis on blacks, and the surprisingly small effect on immigrants, no research investigates how individuals who are both black and immigrants fared. I use 2005–2007 and 2009–2011 pooled American Community Survey data (N = 2,000,689 and 2,013,001, respectively) to determine whether black immigrants’ housing market outcomes mirrored that of U.S.-born blacks or other immigrants during the housing crisis. Using the maximum likelihood estimator regression with a Heckman correction to measure race and nativity differences in homeownership and house value, I find that there is a great deal of diversity in black immigrant housing market outcomes. Caribbean immigrants experienced significantly larger drops in homeownership than U.S.-born whites and blacks and Asian immigrants, but there is no significant difference between whites and African immigrants. Consistent with previous research, living in major settlement areas meditated black immigrants’ housing market disadvantage. Despite the benefits of living in a co-ethnic community, both African and Caribbean immigrants experienced significantly larger drops in house value than U.S.-born blacks and whites and Asian immigrants. These findings indicate that black immigrants’ housing options are more rather than less constrained than U.S.-born blacks after the housing market crash. Given that the bulk of black wealth is held in home equity, reduced house values may also have long-term consequences on black immigrants’ ability to make, maintain, and pass on wealth across generations.


Women’s Agency and Fertility: Recent Evidence from Egypt

Abstract

Fertility reached a two decade high of 3.5 births per woman in Egypt in 2014. Lower status of women is associated with higher fertility. Majority of the studies on women’s agency and fertility rely on individual-level cross-sectional data from South Asia, which limits the understanding of variation among communities and the direction of the relationship between women’s agency and fertility in other global contexts. This study examines the relationship between women’s agency and fertility longitudinally and among communities in the most populous country in the Middle East-Egypt. For 3795 ever married women 15–49 years old in the 2006 and 2012 Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey, multilevel models are estimated for having given birth and number of births between 2006 and 2012. Contrary to expectation, women with more agency with greater participation in household decision-making and mobility are, in fact, more likely to have had a birth and have a greater total number of births. Only women with more egalitarian attitudes are associated with fewer births. Community membership explains 5% of the variation in fertility. Since social norms in Egypt favor a higher number of births and labor market participation among women is low, women with agency could be fulfilling social expectations of having children and choosing to have more children.


Majority Rules: Gender Composition and Sexual Norms and Behavior in High Schools

Abstract

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine the relationship between the gender composition of high schools and sexual ideals, attitudes, and behaviors reported by 12,617 students. Theory predicts that a surplus of females in a dating market gives males greater bargaining power to achieve their underlying preference for avoiding committed relationships and engaging in casual sex. We find relationships between the gender composition of a high school and sexual norms and behaviors that depart from this theoretical prediction: In high schools in which girls outnumber boys, students report a less sexually permissive normative climate and girls report less casual sex compared with their counterparts at schools in which boys outnumber girls. Our results inform predictions about social consequences following from the feminization of school institutions.


Child Home Care Allowance and the Transition to Second- and Third-Order Births in Finland

Abstract

Using register data from the Finnish Census Panel, this paper studies the relationship between the use of the child home care allowance and second and third births among women aged 20–44 in Finland during the period 1992–2007. Discrete-time event-history analysis is applied to examine (i) whether women taking up the child home care allowance while their previous child was under the age of 3 have a higher risk to proceed to subsequent childbearing, (ii) whether these women proceed to a further birth more quickly, and (iii) whether the risk to proceed to a subsequent birth is related to educational level. The results show that women using the allowance have a higher risk of having a second and a third birth than women not using it. The risk of having a second birth is higher than that of having a third birth. Also, women using the allowance get their subsequent child sooner than women not using the allowance. No large educational differences in the effect of allowance use are found for second or third births.


Poverty and Problem Behaviors across the Early Life Course: The Role of Sensitive Period Exposure

Abstract

Research routinely finds that children exposed to poverty exhibit more problem behaviors than their nonexposed counterparts. This research, however, lacks developmental specificity with regard to timing and the pathways by which poverty exposures manifest across the early life course. I utilized 15 years of prospective data from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development to assess how poverty exposures and financial strains at different ages (0–1, 2–5, and 15) were related to problem behaviors during early childhood (ages 2–5), late childhood (ages 5–12), and adolescence (age 15). Results show that poverty exposures during infancy and to a lesser extent early childhood were robust predictors of problem behaviors in early childhood, late childhood, and adolescence because they were linked to more problem behaviors at younger ages, which persisted over time. These associations partially operated through financial strain. Poverty during adolescence was mostly unrelated to problem behaviors during adolescence after taking into account exposures at younger ages. Overall, this study provided initial evidence that poverty exposure during infancy may have lasting implications for problem behaviors across the early life course.


An Alternative to Fixed Transition Probabilities for the Projection of Interprovincial Migration in Canada

Abstract

Internal migration plays a critical role in subnational population projections. The multiregional model is often seen as a gold standard, for its capacity to project several interconnected regions simultaneously and coherently. However, undesirable effects may occur when assumptions of constant transition probabilities are used. This paper investigates these limits, explores a few solutions provided in the literature and describes the alternative methodology used by Statistics Canada in its most recent edition of population projections for the Canadian provinces and territories. Among other things, the new method is shown to improve the consistency between internal migration assumptions and results and to facilitate the projection of the uncertainty associated with this component.


Maternal Household Decision-Making Autonomy and Adolescent Education in Honduras

Abstract

Maternal decision-making autonomy has been linked to positive outcomes for children’s health and well-being early in life in low- and middle-income countries throughout the world. However, there is a dearth of research examining if and how maternal autonomy continues to influence children’s outcomes into adolescence and whether it impacts other domains of children’s lives beyond health, such as their education. The goal of this study was to determine whether high maternal decision-making was associated with school enrollment for secondary school-aged youth in Honduras. Further, we aimed to assess whether the relationships between maternal autonomy and school enrollment varied by adolescents’ environmental contexts and individual characteristics such as gender. Our analytical sample included 6579 adolescents ages 12–16 living with their mothers from the Honduran Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2011–2012. We used stepwise logistic regression models to investigate the association between maternal household decision-making autonomy and adolescents’ school enrollment. Our findings suggest that adolescents, especially girls, benefit from their mothers’ high decision-making autonomy. Findings suggest that maternal decision-making autonomy promotes adolescents’ school enrollment above and beyond other maternal, household, and regional influences.


The Future Labor Force of an Aging Taiwan: The Importance of Education and Female Labor Supply

Abstract

This study uses multi-state cohort component projections and detailed vital statistics data to project the future Taiwanese population by age, sex, and education up to 2050. These are the first education-specific population projections for Taiwan, and they reveal how young highly educated cohorts during the next decades will replace older cohorts with lower levels of educational attainment. The results of the population projections enter our estimation of the future composition of the Taiwanese labor force. Incorporating education as an extra dimension in labor force projections allows us to make inferences about the quality of future labor supply in a rapidly aging Taiwan and the leverage of expanding economic activity across the life course, particularly of women. At present, women’s economic activity above age 25 in Taiwan is significantly lower than men’s and also much lower than women's in Western developed nations. Some of the expected adverse economic consequences of population aging can likely be alleviated by having a more educated and consequently more productive labor force. The overall results and conclusions of our study, though based on the Taiwanese context, apply to other Asian economies with rapidly aging populations and currently comparatively low levels of female labor force participation as well.


Life Course Changes in Smoking by Gender and Education: A Cohort Comparison Across France and the United States

Abstract

Widening of educational disparities and a narrowing female advantage in mortality stem in good part from disparities in smoking. The changes in smoking and mortality disparities across cohorts and countries have been explained by an epidemic model of cigarette use but are also related to life course changes. To better describe and understand changing disparities over the life course, we compare age patterns of smoking in three cohorts and two nations (France and the US) using smoking history measures from the 2010 French health barometer (N = 20,940) and the 2010 US National Health Interview Survey Sample Adult File (N = 20,444). The results demonstrate statistically significant widening of gender and educational differences from adolescence to early and middle adulthood, thus accentuating the disparities already emerging during adolescence. In addition, the widening disparities over the life course have been changing across cohorts: age differences in educational disparities have grown in recent cohorts (especially in France), while age differences in gender disparities have narrowed. The findings highlight the multiple sources of inequality in smoking and health in high-income nations.


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

Abstract

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


Determinants of Mexican-Origin Dropout: The Roles of Mexican Latino/a Destinations and Immigrant Generation

Abstract

Adolescents of Mexican origin have higher than average school dropout rates, but the risk of school non-enrollment among this subgroup varies substantially across geographic areas. This study conducts a multilevel logistic regression analysis of data from the 2005–2009 American Community Survey to evaluate whether spatial heterogeneity in school non-enrollment rates among Mexican-origin youth (n = 71,269) can be attributed to the histories of states and local areas as Mexican Latino/a receiving gateways. This study also determines whether the association between new destinations and school non-enrollment varies within the Mexican-origin population by nativity and duration of residence. Net of background controls, the risk of non-enrollment does not differ significantly between Mexican-origin youth living in states that are newer Mexican Latino/a gateways versus those in more established destinations, in part because Mexican-origin school non-enrollment rates are heterogeneous across newer destination states. At the more local Public Use Microdata Area level, however, Mexican-origin youth in newer gateways have a higher risk of non-enrollment than those in established destinations, revealing the importance of local-level contexts as venues for integration. The disparity in non-enrollment between Mexican-origin youth in new versus established destination PUMAs is apparent for all generational groups, but is widest among 1.25-generation adolescents who arrived in the country as teenagers, suggesting that local new destinations are particularly ill-equipped to deal with the educational needs of migrant newcomers.


Cancer Screening Utilization Among U.S. Women: How Mammogram and Pap Test Use Varies Among Heterosexual, Lesbian, and Bisexual Women

Abstract

Existing research on cancer screening utilization among sexual minority women in the U.S. has mostly relied on non-random samples that combine lesbian and bisexual women into a single group. We respond to these limitations by examining the relationship between sexual orientation and cancer screening among a sample of U.S. women from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Our analytic sample includes 2273 lesbian, 1689 bisexual, and 174,839 heterosexual women interviewed in 15 U.S. states between 2000 and 2010. We examine two cancer screening measures: timely mammogram and pap tests, defined as having had a mammogram in the past 2 years for women aged 40 and older, and having had a pap test in the past 3 years for women aged 21–65. For mammogram, results showed that rates of timely use did not significantly differ by sexual orientation. However, lesbian and bisexual women report significantly lower rates of timely pap testing than heterosexual women. Logistic regression results on timely pap testing showed that lower pap test use for bisexual women is primarily driven by their poorer socioeconomic status relative to heterosexual women, while the significantly lower odds of timely pap testing for lesbian women were unaffected by control measures. Better understanding of cancer screening utilization disparities among lesbian and bisexual women is necessary to address morbidity and mortality disparities by sexual orientation.


Erratum to: Life Course Changes in Smoking by Gender and Education: A Cohort Comparison Across France and the United States


Interracial Marriage and Self-Reported Health of Whites and Blacks in the United States

Abstract

This study examines the self-reported health of 180,291 married non-Hispanic blacks and whites in interracial versus endogamous marriages. Data are from the National Health Interview Survey pooled over the period 1997–2013. The results from ordinal logistic regressions show that non-Hispanic whites intermarried with non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites intermarried with non-Hispanic other races, and non-Hispanic white women with Hispanic husbands report significantly poorer health than their endogamous counterparts. Furthermore, non-Hispanic whites with non-Hispanic black spouses also fare worse than their interracially married peers with Hispanic spouses. In contrast, the self-reported health of married non-Hispanic blacks shows no significant difference between the interracially and the endogamously married. Our findings highlight the theoretical significance of spousal characteristics and couple-level contexts in the household production of health.


Discrimination, Sleep, and Stress Reactivity: Pathways to African American-White Cardiometabolic Risk Inequities

Abstract

This review provides a model explicating two related physiologic and behavioral pathways through which the chronic daily stress of the expectation and experience of discrimination exposure can shape life course cardiometabolic risk trajectories: sleep and stress reactivity. We argue that these two pathways work together jointly to shape African American-White disparities in cardiometabolic morbidities. The body’s ongoing anticipation of experiencing racism-related stressors disrupts sleep, a behavior highly responsive to stress reactivity, which is also elevated during stressful conditions. The constant feedback between sleep disruption and the body’s stress response can lead to higher allostatic load and disproportionate exposure to stress-related illness among African Americans earlier in their life course.


Neighborhood Priority or Desegregation Plans? A Spatial Analysis of Voting on San Francisco’s Student Assignment System

Abstract

In 2011, San Francisco held an unprecedented citywide vote on its public schools’ student assignment policy. Proposition H provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the public’s desire for “neighborhood schools,” as compared to their interest in maintaining districtwide desegregation efforts. This paper takes the approach of applying geographic information system tools and regression analysis to understand the relationships between neighborhood, race, income, and attitudes toward student assignment systems. By comparing the election results with demographics and school quality data, we identify patterns of support for the narrowly defeated proposition. Support for a shift toward neighborhood-based schools was higher in census tracts with high-performing schools, more school age children, high median income, or a large fraction of foreign-born residents, and lower in tracts with a high percentage of Latinos. The shifting race- and class-based politics of the city foreshadow expected demographic shifts in the US.


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

Abstract

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