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Pamela Smock photo

Integrating U.S. Fertility Surveys

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Pamela Smock, Peter A. Granda, Lynette Hoelter, James M. Lepkowski

The central goal of this project is to produce a harmonized dataset of U.S. family and fertility surveys spanning the 1955-2002 period, including the 1955 and 1960 Growth of American Families (GAF); the 1965 and 1970 National Fertility Survey (NFS); and the 1973, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1995, and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (Cycles 1-6 of the NSFG). This new Integrated Fertility Survey Series (IFSS) and its associated data products will facilitate analyses across time, yielding new insights into changes in fertility and the family.

The past five decades have witnessed marked shifts in family and fertility patterns, which have been widely studied by social scientists and policy researchers from a broad range of disciplines. These include changes in union formation, union dissolution, childbearing, and attitudes about a range of family issues. After a brief period characterized by early marriage, low levels of divorce, and higher levels of fertility following World War II (i.e., the Baby Boom), recent decades have been marked by lower levels of childbearing, higher divorce rates, increases in the average age at marriage, rising nonmarital child-bearing, and an upsurge in unmarried cohabitation. While scientists have produced a large body of research on these trends and patterns, the ability to make comparisons over time – a central task for understanding family change – has been inhibited by difficulties in using multiple datasets (e.g., changes in universe, weighting procedures, imputation protocols, question wording, variable availability). This is especially the case when attempting to include surveys from the earlier years (i.e., 1950s and 1960s). Yet these early surveys, used in combination with later ones, would provide vital benchmarks for documenting and understanding transformations in fertility and the family.

Funding Period: 04/01/2007 to 03/31/2014

Project website: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/IFSS/

Country of Focus: USA

Related Holdings, ICPSR Study #26344

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