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Getting a piece of the pie? The economic boom of the 1990s and declining teen birth rates in the United States

Publication Abstract

Colen, Cynthia, Arline T. Geronimus, and Maureen G. Phipps. 2006. "Getting a piece of the pie? The economic boom of the 1990s and declining teen birth rates in the United States." Social Science and Medicine, 63(2006): 1531-1545.

In the United States, the 1990s was a decade of dramatic economic growth as well as a period characterized by substantial declines in teenage childbearing. This study examines whether falling teen fertility rates during the 1990s were responsive to expanding employment opportunities and whether the implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act (PRWORA), increasing rates of incarceration, or restrictive abortion policies may have affected this association. Fixed-effects Poisson regression models were estimated to assess the relationship between age-specific birth rates and state-specific unemployment rates from 1990 to 1999 for black and white females aged 10 to 29. Falling unemployment rates in the 1990s were associated with decreased childbearing among black women aged 15 to 24, but were largely unrelated to declines in fertility for whites. For 18-19 year-old African Americans, the group for whom teen childbearing is most normative, our model accounted for 85% of the decrease in rates of first births. Young black women, especially older teens, may have adjusted their reproductive behavior to take advantage of expanded labor market opportunities.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.04.006 (Full Text)

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