Wildeman C, Percheski C. Associations of Childhood Religious Attendance, Family Structure, and Nonmarital Fertility across Cohorts. Journal of Marriage and Family. Submitted.Abstract
This article considers associations among childhood family structure, childhood religious service attendance, and the probability of having a nonmarital first birth before age 30 for non-Hispanic White women born 1944 to 1964 using data from the 1988 and 1995 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) (N = 5995). We found that attending religious services weekly during childhood and growing up in a two-biological parent family were associated with lower odds of having had a nonmarital first birth. These associations were quite stable across cohorts, although religious attendance was less associated with nonmarital fertility for the youngest cohort. We estimate that changes in these childhood experiences account for 22% of the increase in nonmarital first births across these cohorts.
Western B, Bloome D, Percheski C. Inequality among American Families with Children: 1975-2005. American Sociological Review. 2008;73.Abstract
From 1975 to 2005, the variance in incomes of American families with children increased by two-thirds. In attempting to explain this trend, labor market studies emphasize the rising pay of college graduates, while demographers typically highlight the implications of family structural changes across time. In this article, we join these lines of research by conceiving of income inequality as the joint product of the distribution of earnings in the labor market and the pooling of incomes in families. We develop this framework with a decomposition of family income inequality using annual data from the March Current Population Survey. Our analysis shows that disparities in education and single parenthood contributed to income inequality, but rising educational attainment and women’s employment offset these effects. Most of the increase in family income inequality was due to increasing within-group inequality, which was widely shared across family types and levels of schooling.
McLanahan S, Percheski C. Family Structure and the Reproduction of Inequalities. Annual Review of Sociology. 2008;34.Abstract
Over the past four decades, income inequality has increased and family structures have diversified.We argue that family structure has become an important mechanism for the reproduction of class, race, and gender inequalities. We review studies of income inequality and family structure changes and find a wide range of estimates of the correlation.We discuss how increases in income inequality may lead to increases in single motherhood, particularly among less educated women. Single motherhood in turn decreases intergenerational economic mobility by affecting children’s material resources and the parenting they experience. Because of the unequal distribution of family structure by race and the negative effects of single motherhood, family structure changes exacerbate racial inequalities. Gender inequalities also increase as mothers incur more child-related costs and fewer fathers experience family life with children.
Percheski C, Wildeman C. Becoming a Dad: Employment Trajectories of Married, Cohabiting, and Non-resident Fathers. Social Science Quarterly. 2008;89 (2).Abstract
This article considers how becoming a father affects men’s employment levels and tests whether the effects of fatherhood differ by the relationship of the father to the child’s mother at the time of the birth. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to fit growth curve models of new fathers’ employment trajectories for the first five years after they become fathers. Prior to becoming a father, married men worked more hours per week and more weeks per year than cohabiting and nonresident fathers. By five years after the birth, differences in employment between unmarried and married fathers had diminished. The transition to fatherhood is associated with an increase in employment for unmarried fathers but is not associated with significant changes in employment for married fathers.
Percheski C. Opting Out? Cohort Differences in Professional Women's Employment Rates from 1960 to 2005. American Sociological Review. 2008;73 (3).Abstract
Over the past 50 years, women’s roles have changed dramatically—a reality captured by substantial increases in employment and reductions in fertility. Yet, the social organization of work and family life has not changed much, leading to pervasive work–family conflict. Observing these strains, some scholars wonder whether U.S. women’s high employment levels are sustainable. Women’s employment in professional and managerial occupations—the core of the analyses offered in this article—merits particular interest because of the material and symbolic implications for gender equality. In a cohort analysis of working-age women born between 1906 and 1975, I show that employment levels among college-educated women in professional and managerial occupations have increased across cohorts. Full-time, year-round employment rates continue to rise across cohorts, even among women in historically male professions and mothers of young children. Although labor force participation rates have stopped rising, they have stalled at a very high rate, with less than 8 percent of professional women born since 1956 out of the labor force for a year or more during their prime childbearing years. Moreover, the difference in employment rates between mothers and childless women—the “child penalty”—is shrinking across cohorts.