30 Apr 2017

Recent Articles in Population Research and Policy Review RSS


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.


J-Curve? A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression of Parity and Parental Mortality

Abstract

Research suggests that parity and parental health and mortality are associated significantly, although the pattern of association varies across studies. Studies ascribe long-term poor health (and mortality) to either low or high parity, and some studies show that both low and high parity increase the risk of adverse health for parents (i.e., forming a “J-shaped curve”). While a recent meta-analysis (Zeng et al., Sci Rep 6:19351, 2016) has partially addressed this gap in the literature, the present study further extends the literature by using a methodology that allows for more robust control of study heterogeneity and potential confounders. Using data on 223 measures of relative mortality risk from 37 studies, from samples gathered after 1945 from developed nations, meta-analysis and meta-regression (weighted linear regression) results show a nonlinear association (J-shaped curve) between parity and all-cause parental mortality, though the strength of the association varies by both sex and cohort. The results also suggest that the mortality hazard is partially explained by health selection effects.


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.


Unemployment and Immigrant Receptivity Climate in Established and Newly Emerging Destination Areas

Abstract

This study examines whether the receptivity climate toward immigrants varies across traditional, new, and emerging Hispanic immigrant destinations in the U.S. and whether that climate is related to local unemployment rates and to the job-skill level of immigrants who settle in these places. We utilize unique, newly collected data to measure local labor market area immigrant receptivity climate based on content analysis of a random sample of all articles addressing immigrants/immigration which were published by local area newspapers from 1995 to 2010. The descriptive data show considerable diversity in local and regional immigrant receptivity patterns across the 380 U.S. labor market areas. Using annual labor market-specific unemployment rates, decadal measures of the educational attainment of immigrants and natives in the labor market area, and an annual summary measure of the immigrant receptivity climate, controlling for theoretically relevant labor market contextual characteristics, results from our regression models show that the immigrant receptivity climate is more negative where unemployment rates are higher. However, this relationship is evident only for new and non-destination areas compared with established immigrant destinations when control variables are considered. While a higher skill level of immigrants (a labor competition argument) is related to less negativity toward them, it does not explain the relationship between unemployment and immigrant receptivity climate. Overall, a high skill level of natives is the better explanation for a more positive immigrant receptivity climate.


Childbearing Behavior Before and After the 1994 Population Policies in Ghana

Abstract

Due to the high population growth rate in the mid-20th century, the government of Ghana introduced population policies to reduce the growth rate. Encouraging girls’ education and increasing contraceptive use were the two main policy measures to reduce population growth. In order to get a clear picture of the childbearing dynamics of Ghanaian women in response to the population policy of 1994, we analyzed individual reproductive histories from 1969 to 2003 using 2003 Ghana Demographic Health survey data to disentangle patterns by parity, calendar period, and educational groups. Exponential hazard regression models were used to estimate the relative risk of births. We find some evidence of a critical juncture in fertility trends, particularly for the fifth child. In addition, higher parity transition rates continuously declined for women with secondary or higher education and these educational levels were achieved by a higher share of the population after the policy was implemented. The 1994 population policy was successful if only by virtue of the increasing number of women with secondary or higher education. Belonging to this group is not only associated with lower fertility, but this suppressing effect strengthened in the years following the policy implementation. We also suspect that the increasing similarity between women with no education and with primary education reflects the diffusion of contraceptive knowledge and norms related to childbearing. The educational reform and contraceptive initiatives did result in increased education and contraceptive awareness and are therefore beneficial programs.


Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage: Dynamics of Gaining and Losing Coverage Over the Life-Course

Abstract

Health insurance coverage varies substantially between racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, African Americans and people of Hispanic origin had persistently lower insurance coverage rates at all ages. This article describes age- and group-specific dynamics of insurance gain and loss that contribute to inequalities found in traditional cross-sectional studies. It uses the longitudinal 2008 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (N = 114,345) to describe age-specific patterns of disparity prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A formal decomposition on increment–decrement life tables of insurance gain and loss shows that coverage disparities are predominately driven by minority groups’ greater propensity to lose the insurance that they already have. Uninsured African Americans were faster to gain insurance compared to non-Hispanic whites, but their high rates of insurance loss more than negated this advantage. Disparities from greater rates of loss among minority groups emerge rapidly at the end of childhood and persist throughout adulthood. This is especially true for African Americans and Hispanics, and their relative disadvantages again heighten in their 40s and 50s.


Is the Pro-Poor Premium Exemption Policy of Ghana’s NHIS Reducing Disparities Among the Elderly?

Abstract

Under the act that established the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), persons 70 years of age or above are automatically enrolled in the scheme and therefore can access health services free at the point of use. This suggests that the elderly who are unable to afford the premiums of private health insurance can enrol in the NHIS thereby eliminating the possibility of disparities in health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, few studies have examined health insurance coverage among the elderly in Ghana. The lack of studies on the elderly in Ghana may be due to limited data on this important demographic group. Using data from the Study on Global Ageing and Health and applying logit models, this paper investigates whether the pro-poor exemption policy is eliminating disparities among the elderly aged 70 years and older. The results show that disparities in insurance coverage among the elderly are based on respondents’ socio-economic circumstances, mainly their wealth status. The study underscores the need for eliminating health access disparities among the elderly and suggests that the current premium exemptions alone may not be the solution to eliminating disparities in health insurance coverage among the elderly.


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


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.


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.


Getting Under the Skin: Children’s Health Disparities as Embodiment of Social Class

Abstract

Social class gradients in children’s health and development are ubiquitous across time and geography. The authors develop a conceptual framework relating three actions of class—material allocation, salient group identity, and inter-group conflict—to the reproduction of class-based disparities in child health. A core proposition is that the actions of class stratification create variation in children’s mesosystems and microsystems in distinct locations in the ecology of everyday life. Variation in mesosystems (e.g., health care, neighborhoods) and microsystems (e.g., family structure, housing) become manifest in a wide variety of specific experiences and environments that produce the behavioral and biological antecedents to health and disease among children. The framework is explored via a review of theoretical and empirical contributions from multiple disciplines, and high-priority areas for future research are highlighted.


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.


Theoretical Insights into Preconception Social Conditions and Perinatal Health: The Role of Place and Social Relationships

Abstract

Recent efforts to explain the stark social and racial disparities in adverse birth outcomes that have persisted for decades in the U.S. have looked beyond prenatal factors, to explore preconception social conditions that may influence perinatal health via dysregulation of physiologic processes. The extant evidence supporting this link however remains limited, both due to a lack of data and theory. To address the latter, this manuscript generates a structured set of theoretical insights that further develop the link between two preconception social conditions—place and social relationships—and perinatal health. The insights propose the following. Place: necessarily encompasses all social contexts to which females are exposed from infancy through young adulthood; encompasses a variety of related exposures that, when possible, should be jointly considered; and may compound the effect of poverty—in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood—on perinatal health. Social relationships: span relationships from early life through adulthood, and extend to intergenerational associations; often involve (or induce) major changes in the lives of individuals and should be examined with an emphasis on the developmental stage in which the change occurred; and can reflect a lack of social integration, or, social isolation. We also identify potential biological and social-structural mechanisms linking these preconception social conditions to perinatal health, and conclude by identifying promising directions for future research.


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.


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.


Black–White Disparities in Adult Mortality: Implications of Differential Record Linkage for Understanding the Mortality Crossover

Abstract

Mortality rates among black individuals exceed those of white individuals throughout much of the life course. The black–white disparity in mortality rates is widest in young adulthood, and then rates converge with increasing age until a crossover occurs at about age 85 years, after which black older adults exhibit a lower mortality rate relative to white older adults. Data quality issues in survey-linked mortality studies may hinder accurate estimation of this disparity and may even be responsible for the observed black–white mortality crossover, especially if the linkage of surveys to death records during mortality follow-up is less accurate for black older adults. This study assesses black–white differences in the linkage of the 1986–2009 National Health Interview Survey to the National Death Index through 2011 and the implications of racial/ethnic differences in record linkage for mortality disparity estimates. Match class and match score (i.e., indicators of linkage quality) differ by race/ethnicity, with black adults exhibiting less certain matches than white adults in all age groups. The magnitude of the black–white mortality disparity varies with alternative linkage scenarios, but convergence and crossover continue to be observed in each case. Beyond black–white differences in linkage quality, this study also identifies declines over time in linkage quality and even eligibility for linkage among all adults. Although linkage quality is lower among black adults than white adults, differential record linkage does not account for the black–white mortality crossover.


Transitions Between Compensated Work Disability, Joblessness, and Self-Sufficiency: A Cohort Study 1997–2010 of Those Jobless in 1995

Abstract

Associations between unemployment, work, and disability have been researched in many studies. The findings are often based on cross-sectional data and single outcomes. The present study analysed multiple outcomes over a period of 15 years among long-term unemployed individuals. Based on all individuals aged 20–40 living in Sweden in 1995, prospective cohort analyses were conducted. Individual annual labour market proximity 1995–2010 was estimated and categorised into three mutually exclusive categories: “Jobless”, “Self-sufficient” (i.e. main income from work), or “Disabled”. Individuals in the category “Jobless” (n = 638,622) in 1995 constituted the study population. Using autoregressive multinomial logistic regression, transitions between the three states during 1997–2010 were analysed. Socio-economic factors, previous inpatient care, and national unemployment rates in different time periods were included in the regression models. Among those “Jobless” in 1995, 17 % were also “Jobless” in 2010, while 10 % were “Disabled” and 61 % “Self-sufficient”. The transitions were stable over time periods for transitions into “Self-sufficient” and “Disabled” but less so for “Jobless”. Previous state was the best predictor of subsequent state. “Jobless” individuals with previous morbidity had a higher transition probability into “Disabled” and a lower transition probability into “Self-sufficient”. The transition rates into “Self-sufficient” were higher in periods with lower unemployment levels. The study supports the interpretation that return to work was affected both by the individuals’ previous health status and by the national unemployment level. Transition from being “Jobless” into “Disability” may be influenced by previous ill health and by negative health effects of being “Jobless”.


The Effect of Cash Transfers on Fertility: Evidence from Argentina

Abstract

In 2009 Argentina introduced a large poverty-alleviation program (AUH) that provides monthly cash transfers per child to households without workers in the formal sector. In this paper we study the potential unintended effect of this program on fertility. We apply a difference-in-difference strategy comparing the probability of having a new child among eligible and ineligible mothers both before and after the program inception. The intention to treat estimations suggest a significant positive impact on fertility in households with at least one child (around 2 percentage points), but no significant effect on childless households. Given the short time window since the implementation of the AUH, we are unable to identify whether this positive effect reflects changes in the timing of births or in the equilibrium number of children.


Reconciling Forecasts of Infant Mortality Rates at National and Sub-National Levels: Grouped Time-Series Methods

Abstract

Mortality rates are often disaggregated by different attributes, such as sex, state, education, religion, or ethnicity. Forecasting mortality rates at the national and sub-national levels plays an important role in making social policies associated with the national and sub-national levels. However, base forecasts at the sub-national levels may not add up to the forecasts at the national level. To address this issue, we consider the problem of reconciling mortality rate forecasts from the viewpoint of grouped time-series forecasting methods (Hyndman et al. in, Comput Stat Data Anal 55(9):2579–2589, 2011). A bottom-up method and an optimal combination method are applied to produce point forecasts of infant mortality rates that are aggregated appropriately across the different levels of a hierarchy. We extend these two methods by considering the reconciliation of interval forecasts through a bootstrap procedure. Using the regional infant mortality rates in Australia, we investigate the one-step-ahead to 20-step-ahead point and interval forecast accuracies among the independent and these two grouped time-series forecasting methods. The proposed methods are shown to be useful for reconciling point and interval forecasts of demographic rates at the national and sub-national levels, and would be beneficial for government policy decisions regarding the allocations of current and future resources at both the national and sub-national levels.