Trends in the determinants of early childbearing

Research paper by Nan L. Maxwell, Frank L. Mott

Indexed on: 01 Jun '87Published on: 01 Jun '87Published in: Population and environment


This study uses data from the young women's and new youth cohort of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth Labor Market Experience to examine the extent to which socioeconomic background factors and race have changed in their ability to predict a first birth before age 19 between 1968 and 1980 for women aged nineteen to twenty-three. The authors find little support for their hypothesis that the increasing availability of contraception and abortion for young women from all social classes reduces the traditionally strong inverse association between social class and early childbearing. There is evidence that, even after controlling for changes in socioeconomic background factors, black young women are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to bear children before age 19 in 1980 and the relative gap between races in this regard did not alter perceptively during that period.