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 Causal Effect of a Genetic Liability for Schizophrenia on the Age at First Birth

There is a well-established empirical association between parental age and children’s well being. Typically, children of teenage parents and parents with a very late age at first birth are worse off in terms of their socio-economic status and (mental) health compared to children of 20-35 years old mothers. So far, this relationship has been attributed to unstable relationships of young parents and their low economic resources as well as the decreasing (physical) health of older parents which, for example, may complicate conception, pregnancy and birth (for an excellent demographic introduction into the topic please check out the dissertation of Alice Goisis at LSE: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/844/).

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Compelled to Work for Wages: The Story of Old-Age Wage Labour Participation in India

The well-being of the elderly in any society is important as improved health facilities and policies have made the elderly population among one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the world today. In India the elderly population has grown from about 19.8 million in 1951 to 100 million in 2011 and the projections indicate that the number of persons older than sixty years is likely to increase to 198 million by 2030 (Government of India, 2008; ET, 2012). The growing share of the elderly population may have severe consequence in a country like India where the credit and financial markets are not adequately developed.

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When Deaths Exceed Births: Natural Decrease in Europe and the United States

Natural decrease occurs when deaths in an area exceed births. If such natural decrease is prolonged, there is a substantial risk of population loss. Seventeen European nations had more people dying than being born between 2000 and 2009, including several of Europe’s most populous countries. The United States, in contrast, has always seen births exceed deaths by a substantial margin. Our research focuses on the prevalence and dynamics of natural decrease in subareas of Europe and the United States in the first decade of the twenty-first century. We found that 58 percent of the 1,391 counties of Europe (NUTS3 units) had more deaths than births during that period compared to just 28 percent of the 3,137 U.S. counties. (See Figure 1)

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Are We Really Getting Fatter? Evidence From England, 1992-2013

One in four adults in England are currently estimated to obese. This figure has tripled since the 1980s and follows similar trends internationally. This is important since excess body weight is associated with multiple adverse health outcomes including Type II Diabetes, Stroke, Osteoarthritis and Depression. This places considerable burden on health services costing the NHS over £5 billion annually. If trends continue, this figure is set to increase.

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Should the UK Government Expand Pro-Marriage Tax Relief?

In April 2015, David Cameron’s government implemented legislation to promote marriage by providing tax relief for low-income married couples. While nearly four million couples could potentially claim the benefit of around £212 per year, it has been difficult to obtain and relatively few have done so. Now the government has plans to expand these tax benefits to more married couples in order to “send a strong signal that we back marriage.” (Cameron 2014) This raises the question of whether marriage, compared to cohabitation, does indeed boost well-being, and whether incentives to marry need to be expanded.

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Objective and Subjective Health Measures; What do They Tell us?

A variety of measures have been used to examine individuals’ health status. The most frequently used measures are subjective ones, such as self-rated health (SRH) and self-perceived dependence in activities of daily living (ADL). Objective measures and biomarkers are rarely used in this context. The introduction of such measures may provide an important complement to SRH and similar indicators. Recently objective measures such as grip strength and lung function gained popularity. SRH and grip strength are static indicators, capturing deviations from a norm perceived as healthy.

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Are Occupational Complexity and Socioeconomic Position Related to Psychological Distress 20 Years Later?

The age group above retirement age is the fastest growing age group in many countries. As most diseases and disorders occur in higher ages, this implies that there will be higher demands on the health care and pension systems. Even though many have argued that societies are facing an economic and demographic challenge, it is arguably also a great success; more people reach old age and live longer. But some groups of individuals tend to be healthier than others.

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AIDS and Religious Life in Malawi: Rethinking How Population Dynamics Shape Culture

UNAIDS’ latest report on the global HIV pandemic features a bold title: “How AIDS Changed Everything.” The 500-page report almost lives up to its promise; it covers almost everything from patent law, to gender dynamics, to orphan care. In a new paper published in Population, I add to this list of everythings. I demonstrate how, in the context of Malawi’s generalized epidemic, AIDS has altered religious messages about family life — divorce in particular — not within one particular religious group but across all five of the country’s major religious traditions.

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