Variation in Transition to the Next Birth by Parity and Marital Status

Sarah R. Hayford, University of Pennsylvania

Much attention has been devoted to the consequences of non-marital births in terms of women's future achievements and children's well-being. However, little is known about the subsequent fertility behavior of women with non-marital first births. Surprisingly, there is very little difference in completed fertility by marital status at first birth. However, this overall similarity masks differences in fertility behavior at different parities. In this paper, I analyze parity progression ratios at parities above one, concentrating on differences in parity progression patterns between women married and unmarried at the previous birth. I find that women with non-marital first births are less likely to have a second child than women whose first births take place within marriage. At higher parities, on the other hand, marital status is unrelated to parity progression ratios. I turn to the social meaning of children within the context of a marriage to interpret these results.

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Presented in Session 83: Non-Marital Fertility