Contraception as a Rational Choice or Social Practice?

Couples’ fertility control is most often perceived as a rational decision-making process, thereby assuming that people – and women in particular – who want to prevent conception will rely on the most effective method available. Accordingly, it is argued that the introduction of hormonal methods in advanced economies was paralleled by a linear transition from irrational ineffective methods to rational effective ones.

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Will the Affordable Care Act Eliminate Perplexing Inequalities in Contraceptive Sterilization?

In the United States, just under half (48.1%) of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception rely on sterilization for fertility control. In our recent study, Gender, Class, and Contraception in Comparative Context: The Perplexing Links between Sterilization and Disadvantage (2016), Megan Sweeney and I show that levels of contraceptive sterilization are similarly high in Australia (39.6% of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception), but they tend to be much lower and more variable across Europe. With the exception of Australia and Belgium, female sterilization is more common than male sterilization in all of the countries studied (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Romania, Russia, and the United States), despite the latter being simpler, more effective, less often regretted, more economical, and having lower rates of minor and major complications.

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The Emergence of a ‘Trailing Husband’ Phenomenon Following Retirement

Today’s retirees are a cohort where the husband has traditionally been the dominant breadwinner. As such, family migration for this generation demonstrates the powerful role of the husband in the decision to move. Decisions were influenced by the husband’s employment, career and earning capacity with the wife/female partner widely acknowledged as a ‘trailing wife’, ‘tied mover’ or ‘married to her husband’s job’. In other words, she was prepared to move for the sake of her husband’s career even if it resulted in a negative effect on her own employment prospects.

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Children’s Economic Well-Being in Same-Sex Mother Families

While there is increasing support for same-sex parent families and recent state-wide legalization of marriages to same-sex couples in the U.S., there is only a small body of research that examines the economic, academic, social, or psychological well-being of children living in same-sex parent families (Manning et al. 2014).  There are increasing numbers of children residing in same-sex couple parent families, but a key constraint has been that there are relatively few data sets with ample numbers of children residing in same-sex parent families.

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (Selection)

Population recently embarked on a new annual series of articles providing an overview of emerging demographic issues spanning the latest research on data, theories, and policy implications. Prenatal sex selection — now spreading from Asia to Eastern Europe — has been selected as the topic for the first installment.

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Female Employment and Countries’ Fertility Rates – Science’s Comment on Public Debates

Unlike most parameters in demographic research, the Total Fertility Rate has become public knowledge in OECD countries. Particularly following the occurrence and stagnation of low fertility – and the associated aggravation of the social security problems – countries’ fertility rates have established themselves in political debates, legislative initiatives, media reports, and even in cracker barrel politics.

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Sibling Similarity in Family Formation

Sibling data have been widely used to analyze the impact of family background on status attainment. To a lesser extent, they have been utilized for examining family-of-origin effects on demographic outcomes, such as leaving the parental home, union formation, and fertility. This research gap is surprising in view of the increased interest in the interdependencies between demographic processes among family members and their role in the (re‑)production of social inequality across generations. We address this issue in our recently published paper on sibling similarities in family formation.

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Explaining Gender Differentials in Child Mortality in India

Gender differences in child health and mortality pose a critical challenge for public health surveillance and policy in India. Recent Sample Registration System (SRS) reports indicate that female children experience higher mortality than boys. The 2012 SRS report pointed to a significant gap (9 per 1000 live births) in under-five mortality rates between males and females. However, the nature of gender differentials in child mortality is changing.

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The Marriage Decline: Obesity’s Hidden Culprit

It is the topic everyone is talking about: marriage. The demise of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June sent a ripple of excitement around the United States, as discussion heats up over how the new legislation will affect gay marriage. But gays are not the only ones for whom marriage is changing. Gay or straight, people are waiting longer to marry and having more children outside of marriage. These vast changes, summarized in this report, have policymakers buzzing about the hidden costs of delayed marriage, especially for children. Yet, despite all the hype, we have ignored a major question.

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