Given their unique occupational hazards and sizable population, military veterans are an important population for the study of health. Yet, veterans are by no means homogeneous, and there are unanswered questions regarding the extent of, and explanations for, racial and ethnic differences in veterans’ health. Using the 2010 National Survey of Veterans, we first documented race/ethnic differences in self-rated health and limitations in activities of daily living among male veterans aged 30–84. Second, we examined potential explanations for the disparities, including socioeconomic and behavioral differences, as well as differences in specific military experiences. We found that Black, Hispanic, and other/multiple race veterans reported much worse health than White veterans. Using progressively adjusted regression models, we uncovered that the poorer self-rated health and higher levels of activity limitations among minority veterans compared to Whites were partially explained by differences in their socioeconomic status and by their military experiences. Minority veterans are a vulnerable population for poor health; future research and policy efforts should attempt to better understand and ameliorate their health disadvantages relative to White veterans.
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.
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.
Subpopulations have variable connections to specific institutions, such as the military, which can influence their use of social programs and access to resources. We use data from the 5-year (2008–2012) American Community Survey (ACS) public-use file to examine current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) use by military service status: active-duty personnel, recent veterans, long-term veterans, and reserve/guard members. Overall and by military service status, we estimate weighted descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models that include demographic and socioeconomic controls. We document low but non-trivial levels of participation among active-duty personnel (2.2 %), higher but still moderate levels of SNAP use among veterans (7.1 % for recent veterans and 6.5 % for long-term veterans), and the highest level of use among members of the reserve/guard (9.0 %). Multivariate analyses support hypotheses based on the potential for the military, as a total institution, to substantially reduce use of SNAP among active-duty personnel, while veterans and reservists, who are more distal from food-related institutional resources, have higher likelihoods of using SNAP. Although levels of SNAP use among active-duty personnel, veterans, and reservists are lower than those observed in the national population, which includes those with no direct connection to military institutions, findings suggest that leaving active-duty military service results in a substantial and relatively immediate reduction in food-related resources for many recent veterans and their families. We discuss the implications of the findings for policy, limitations of the research, and directions for future research.
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.
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.
It is generally accepted by demographers that cohort-component projection models which incorporate directional migration are conceptually preferable to those using net migration. Yet net migration cohort-component models, and other simplified variations, remain in common use by both academics and practitioners because of their simplicity and low data requirements. While many arguments have been presented in favour of using one or other type of model, surprisingly little analysis has been undertaken to assess which tend to give the most accurate forecasts. This paper evaluates five cohort-component models which differ in the way they handle migration, four of which are well known, with one—a composite net migration model—being proposed here for the first time. The paper evaluates the performance of these five models in their unconstrained form, and then in a constrained form in which age–sex-specific forecasts are constrained to independent total populations from an extrapolative model shown to produce accurate forecasts in earlier research. Retrospective forecasts for 67 local government areas of New South Wales were produced for the period 1991–2011 and then compared to population estimates. Assessments of both total and age-specific population forecasts were made. The results demonstrate the superior performance of the forecasts constrained to total populations from the extrapolative model, with the constrained bi-regional model giving the lowest errors. The findings should be of use to practitioners in selecting appropriate models for local area population forecasts.
This paper investigates historical changes in both single-year-of-age adult mortality rates and variation of the single-year mortality rates around expected values within age intervals over the past two centuries in 15 developed countries. We apply an integrated hierarchical age-period-cohort—variance function regression model to data from the human mortality database. We find increasing variation of the single-year rates within broader age intervals over the life course for all countries, but the increasing variation slows down at age 90 and then increases again after age 100 for some countries; the variation significantly declined across cohorts born after the early 20th century; and the variation continuously declined over much of the last two centuries but has substantially increased since 1980. Our further analysis finds the recent increases in mortality variation are not due to increasing proportions of older adults in the population, trends in mortality rates, or disproportionate delays in deaths from degenerative and man-made diseases, but rather due to increasing variations in young and middle-age adults.
In Chile, as in other Latin American countries, most children born outside of marriage are born to currently cohabiting couples. After having their first child, parents could marry, separate, or experience no change in union status. This paper explores changes in cohabitation that occur after the birth of the first child in Chile and analyzes how these changes might be associated with the birth of children and socioeconomic status. The data come from the New Chilean Family Survey, a small longitudinal survey administered to women after giving birth (n = 564). I use life tables and event history techniques to assess changes in respondent union status up to 4 years after the birth of the first child, and to study the transitions out of cohabitation. The results indicate that the unions in the sample are relatively stable, because less than 40 percent of cohabiters change status over the period of 4 years. However, marriage still appears to be a more stable type of union than cohabitation. Among cohabiters, there is evidence of a nonlinear relation between union stability and educational attainment, because the most stable unions are the unions of women with a high school diploma and not the unions of women who did not complete their secondary education. Having planned the first birth and the birth of an additional child seems to consolidate the cohabiting union, because these variables are not related to the entry into marriage, but they are related to lower risks of dissolution. These findings suggest that the Chilean case differs from the cases of Europe and the United States.
The growing recognition that educational attainment is one of the strongest preventive factors for adult health and longevity has fueled an interest in educational attainment as a population health strategy. However, less attention has been given to identifying social, economic, and behavioral resources that may moderate the health and longevity benefits of education. We draw on theories of resource substitution and multiplication to examine the extent to which the education–mortality association is contingent on other resources (marriage, employment, income, healthy lifestyles). We use data on adults aged 30–84 in the 1997–2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File and estimate discrete-time event history models stratified by gender (N = 146,558; deaths = 10,399). We find that the mortality benefits of education are generally largest for adults—especially women—who have other resources such as employment and marriage, supporting the theory of resource multiplication. Nonetheless, our results also imply that other resources can potentially attenuate the mortality disadvantages (advantages) associated with low (high) levels of education. The findings suggest that efforts to improve population health and longevity by raising education levels should be augmented with strategies that assure widespread access to social, economic, and behavioral resources.
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.
Latino immigrant adolescents have the highest high school dropout rates of any race-ethnic or nativity group in the United States. One potential reason for high dropout rates among Latino immigrant youth is that many are unauthorized entrants. These unauthorized Latino immigrant youth have few opportunities to attend college, and, as they become aware of barriers to their educational progress and employment, they may lower their educational expectations. Using data from the Latino adolescent migration, health, and adaptation project (N = 275), we examine the association of unauthorized entry into the U.S. with the educational expectations of Latino immigrant youth. We find that adolescents entering the U.S. without authorization have lower educational expectations than those who enter with authorization. These differences in their expectations persist after controlling for differences in their pre-migration, migration, and post-migration experiences. Policies and programs that reduce barriers to higher education and labor market opportunities can potentially help to foster higher educational expectations among unauthorized immigrant youth and may promote their high school completion.
How does female out-migration reconfigure gender values surrounding son preference in origin communities? We propose that the feminization of migration has the potential to infuse origin communities with economic and ideational changes that may challenge son preference. Rural China provides an interesting setting, both because its unprecedented labor out-migration has increasingly included women and because of its persistent son preference. Using data from rural China and instrumental variable regressions to adjust for potential endogeneity bias, this study shows that out-migration of women, but not of men, attenuates son preference among those in origin communities. The role of female out-migration transcends families with direct ties to migration and extends to the entire village. However, cultural context and family positions within that context condition the role of female migration: specifically, the preferences of individuals in families and villages embedded in strong patrilineal cultural practices are less likely to be shaped by female out-migration.
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.
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.
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.
In multistate populations, the rates of interstate transfer cannot generally be determined from the size and composition of the populations at the beginning and end of a time interval. With N living states, the population data give only N equations to determine the N 2 possible rates. Here, the QERT (quadratic estimation of rates of transfer) approach is advanced that allows the transfer rates to be estimated when the products of selected pairs of rates can be assumed constant. The solution can be written in closed form and, for N living states, involves no more than N−1 quadratic equations. Compared to the leading alternative approaches, QERT provides very similar numerical estimates, while yielding the underlying behavioral rates, having flexible input requirements, accommodating all structural zeros, and reproducing the exact solution when interstate transfers are strictly hierarchical. The QERT approach is applied to construct labor force life tables for U.S. men and women for 2005–2010. The results show that labor force participation differences between men and women have continued to narrow, and that the QERT approach can generate robust worklife estimates. QERT thus provides new opportunities for demographic analysis in the absence of direct data on behavioral rates.
Research on family structure and child well-being rarely includes children in same-sex parent families, a notable omission since 28 % of female–female couple households contain children. Using the 2010–2013 pooled current population survey (CPS), we examined children’s economic well-being by family structure. These data were ideal for this study because they included a sizeable number of children in same-sex cohabiting mother families and the CPS measured both official and supplemental poverty, incorporating the cohabiting partner. Using the official poverty measure, children in same-sex cohabiting mother families were more likely to be poor than their counterparts in either different-sex cohabiting or married parent families. Using the supplemental poverty measure, children in same-sex mother families were no more likely to be poor than children in all other types of different-sex two-parent families.
The term “gentrification” carries conflicting popular connotations, conjuring images of both revitalization and displacement. Despite a rich critical literature from urban social scientists, gentrification as it relates to rural housing and rural development is a similarly conflicted term. With the frequent conflation of rural gentrification and economic improvement, researchers and policy-makers alike need more nuanced techniques for identifying how the process distributes costs and benefits across households. This paper operationalizes rural gentrification as a specific demographic pattern of household migration, termed the “Rural Gentrification Score,” and maps its footprint between 1980 and 2000 in 25 US states. It then uses census data to better understand the impacts of rural gentrification on home values in rural counties, interrogating the popular notion that homeowners benefit from gentrification. Using comparative analyses, two related hypotheses about rural gentrification and inequality are explored: (1) that gentrified rural counties were susceptible to greater home value segregation and (2) that over time gentrification’s spread culminated in greater homogeneity of home values. Results support each of these hypotheses and point to nuances in the relationship between population turnover, inequality, and socioeconomic context. Most notably the findings highlight a spatial and temporal pattern of widening wealth inequality in gentrifying rural counties.
The American Community Survey (ACS) has been fully implemented since 2005. The Census Bureau has released four 5-year datasets, the most geographically detailed dataset. Yet, government agencies still grapple with how to use the multiple datasets and estimates. The Census Bureau publishes guidelines for their use, emphasizing the need to balance timeliness and precision in choosing an estimate and encouraging the use of the margin of error. This study examines how three federal agencies use the ACS to implement programs to understand whether the published guidelines address the issues of importance to government agencies. These programs all use income data from the ACS, but for different ends: eligibility criteria, evaluation of federal guideline implementation, and allocation of funds among urban areas. After reviewing agency publications, studying changes in policy, and conducting personal interviews with officials, we find that the agencies consider not only precision and timeliness when choosing an estimate, but also statutory requirements, computational limitations, and geographic needs. Federal agencies are cognizant that these estimates are subject to error, but find that the margin of error adds complexity that does not necessarily result in better implementation of programs. The ACS offers users multiple dataset choices, with varying degrees of reliability, to estimate population characteristics. Current Census Bureau guidelines for the ACS do not meet the needs of many government agencies, as federal statutes are not designed with the current survey methodology in mind.