Women’s Household Income Contributions and Higher-Order Births in the United States

Alison Gemmill, University of California, Berkeley
Margarita Chudnovskaya, Stockholm University
Peter Hepburn, University of California, Berkeley

Women’s labor force participation has risen dramatically in the United States over the last fifty years. As more women continue working after marriage and childbirth, they contribute a rising share to household income, which likely influences decisions regarding timing and likelihood of second and third births within marriage. This paper uses data from the NLSY1979 to capture longitudinal variation in women’s and men’s income contribution to the household, and relates these income differences to fertility progression. Our hypothesis is that the fertility patterns of equal-earner and female-breadwinner households will differ from those of traditional male breadwinner families. Event history analysis shows that female-breadwinner families behave similarly to dual-income earner families with regard to second and third births, and that both of these groups have lower fertility than male-breadwinner households when other family characteristics are adjusted for.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households