3 Jul 2015

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


Evaluating Linearly Interpolated Intercensal Estimates of Demographic and Socioeconomic Characteristics of U.S. Counties and Census Tracts 2001–2009

Abstract

The American Community Survey (ACS) multiyear estimation program has greatly advanced opportunities for studying change in the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of U.S. communities. Challenges remain, however, for researchers studying years prior to the full implementation of the ACS or areas smaller than the thresholds for ACS annual estimates (i.e., small counties and census tracts). We evaluate intercensal estimates of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of U.S. counties and census tracts produced via linear interpolation between the 2000 census and both the 2010 census and 2005–2009 ACS. Discrepancies between interpolated estimates and reference estimates from the Population Estimates Program, the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, and ACS are calculated using several measures of error. Findings are discussed in relation to the potential for measurement error to bias longitudinal estimates of linearly interpolated neighborhood change, and alternative intercensal estimation models are discussed, including those that may better capture non-linear trends in economic conditions over the 21st century.


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

Abstract

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


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

Abstract

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


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

Abstract

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


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

Abstract

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


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

Abstract

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


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.


Exploring the Inequality-Mortality Relationship in the US with Bayesian Spatial Modeling

Abstract

While there is evidence to suggest that socioeconomic inequality within places is associated with mortality rates among people living within them, the empirical connection between the two remains unsettled as potential confounders associated with racial and social structure are overlooked. This study seeks to test this relationship, to determine whether it is due to differential levels of deprivation and social capital, and does so with intrinsically conditional autoregressive Bayesian spatial modeling that effectively addresses the bias introduced by spatial dependence. We find that deprivation and social capital partly but do not completely account for why inequality is positively associated with mortality and that spatial modeling generates more accurate predictions than does the traditional approach. We advance the literature by unveiling the intervening roles of social capital and deprivation in the inequality-mortality relationship and offering new evidence that inequality matters in US county mortality rates.


The Impact of Social Security on Return Migration Among Latin American Elderly in the US

Abstract

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.


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.


Educational Attainment and Timing to First Union Across Three Generations of Mexican Women

Abstract

We use data from Wave 3 of the Mexican Family Life Survey (N = 7,276) and discrete-time regression analyses to evaluate changes in the association between educational attainment and timing to first union across three generations of women in Mexico, including a mature cohort (born between 1930 and 1949), a middle cohort (born between 1950 and 1969), and a young cohort (born between 1970 and 1979). Mirroring prior research, we find a curvilinear pattern between educational attainment and timing to first union for women born between 1930 and 1969, such that once we account for the delaying effect of school enrollment, those with the lowest (0–5 years) and highest levels of education (13+ years) are characterized by the earliest transition to a first union. For women born between 1970 and 1979, however, we find that the relationship between educational attainment and timing to first union has changed. In contrast to their peers born in earlier cohorts, highly educated women in Mexico are now postponing first union formation relative to the least educated. We draw on competing theories of educational attainment and timing to first union to help clarify these patterns in the context of Mexico.


Short-Term Labor Migration from Rural North India: Evidence from New Survey Data

Abstract

Despite high rates of internal migration, India is urbanizing relatively slowly. This paper uses new data from rural north India to study short-term migration to urban areas and its role in rural livelihoods. First, we demonstrate the importance of data collection techniques tailored to understanding short-term migration. Second, we consider how traditional theories of migration apply in this context, where the fixed costs of migration are low, the opportunity costs vary by season, and where migration is negatively selective for education and economic status. We conclude by considering the implications of this migration for theories of development and development policies.


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

Abstract

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


Loans and Leaving: Migration and the Expansion of Microcredit in Cambodia

Abstract

Over the last decade, the expansion of microfinance institutions (MFIs) has dramatically shifted the availability of credit across the developing world. This recent development provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between household labor migration and access to and use of formal credit. Both theories of migration and the expectations of formal credit providers have suggested that labor migration and credit are substitute solutions to the demand for capital in the developing world, with the implication that greater access to formal financial services may stem migration out of rural places. Using household survey data from Cambodia, an MFI-saturated country, we find that households using formal credit and households with greater access to formal credit are more likely to have labor migrants than households without access. This association persists across size of loan, purpose of loan, remittances behavior, and for domestic migrations. These findings complicate our understanding of the relationship between credit and migration, and call for a greater recognition of the importance of context in framing migration behavior.


Whose Fertility Preferences Matter? Women, Husbands, In-laws, and Abortion in Madhya Pradesh, India

Abstract

Few studies investigate the influence of husbands’ or others’ fertility preferences on women’s abortion behavior, in spite of longstanding recognition that women are seldom the sole decision-makers governing reproductive behavior. This study uses survey data detailing women’s reproductive histories in Madhya Pradesh, India to analyze the role of women’s fertility preferences, their perceptions of their husbands’ and in-laws’ preferences, and empowerment in two aspects of abortion behavior: the decision to attempt an abortion (n = 8852 pregnancies) and to seek a surgical abortion with a medical provider (n = 752 abortion attempts). The latter is estimated using a Heckman’s selection model. Women are most likely to attempt an abortion and to do so via surgical abortion when they and their husbands agree that they do not want another child. Husbands’ fertility preferences exercise a strong, independent effect on both outcomes, while the effect of in-laws’ preferences is weaker. However, the strongest influence on abortion behavior is women’s own fertility preferences: the odds of attempting abortion decrease by a factor of 0.06 (p value <0.001) among women who wanted a pregnancy compared to those who did not. The magnitude of this effect does not diminish when controlling for others’ fertility preferences. Restrictions on women’s mobility increase the odds of attempting an abortion, but significantly reduce the odds of a surgical abortion.


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

Abstract

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


Subnational Population Projections by Age: An Evaluation of Combined Forecast Techniques

Abstract

Population projections commonly suffer from a decreasing accuracy with a higher degree of disaggregation. We suggest combining the cohort-component model and an averaged projection technique to improve precision of forecasts for small areas. Calculating ex-post population projections, we evaluate the precision and bias of the proposed method by contrasting error patterns of commonly used techniques using official population data from 46 districts of a German state for the years 1980–2013. In comparison to the individual methods considered, the combined approach results in the highest accuracy and lowest bias both for the total population and for age groups. The proposed method is also more robust regarding past growth.


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

Abstract

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


Relationship Involvement Among Young Adults: Are Asian American Men an Exceptional Case?

Abstract

Asian American men and women have been largely neglected in previous studies of romantic relationship formation and status. Using data from the first and fourth waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), we examine romantic and sexual involvement among young adults, most of whom were between the ages of 25 and 32 (N = 11,555). Drawing from explanations that focus on structural and cultural elements as well as racial hierarchies, we examine the factors that promote and impede involvement in romantic/sexual relationships. We use logistic regression to model current involvement of men and women separately and find, with the exception of Filipino men, Asian men are significantly less likely than white men to be currently involved with a romantic partner, even after controlling for a wide array of characteristics. Our results suggest that the racial hierarchy framework best explains lower likelihood of involvement among Asian American men.


Socialization, Adaptation, Transnationalism, and the Reproductive Behavior of Sub-Saharan African Migrants in France

Abstract

Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) move from a region with high fertility to regions with low fertility. Yet very few studies have examined the reproductive behavior of international migrants from SSA. This study examines the roles of origin and destination socialization on the fertility and fertility ideals of SSA migrants in France. The study draws on measures of assimilation to systematically examine the effects of socialization and adaptation as well as transnationalism for the effects of sustained origin ties. Data are from the TEO (“Trajectoires et Origines”) survey conducted in France (2008/2009). Logistic regression is used to examine current fertility (the odds of having a birth in the preceding 5 years), and poisson regression is used to examine cumulative fertility (children ever born) and fertility ideals (reported ideal number of children in a family). Controlling for sociodemographic factors, first-generation SSA migrants have higher fertility than second-generation SSA migrants and non-immigrants. But first- and second-generation SSA migrants have higher fertility ideals than non-immigrants. Among SSA migrants, first- and second-generation migrants do not differ in fertility and fertility ideals when adaptation is accounted for. Most measures of adaptation are negatively associated with actual fertility and fertility ideals. Transnationalism is associated with higher fertility ideals but less so with actual fertility. The study finds some evidence for origin socialization, but the findings are more strongly supportive of adaptation to the host society. Origin socialization appears to have a stronger influence on fertility ideals than actual fertility.