Deciding to Wait: Partnership Status, Economic Conditions, and Pregnancy during the Great Recession

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Sociological Science

The Great Recession was associated with reduced fertility in the United States. Many questions about the dynamics underlying this reduction remain unanswered, however, including whether reduced fertility rates were driven by decreases in intended or unplanned pregnancies. Using restricted data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth (N = 4,630), we exploit variation in state economic indicators to assess the impact of economic conditions on the likelihood of an intended pregnancy, an unplanned pregnancy, or no pregnancy for adult women without a college education. We focus on variations by partnership and marital status. Overall, we find that worse economic conditions were predictive of a lower risk of unplanned pregnancy. Women’s odds of intended pregnancy did not, however, respond uniformly to economic conditions but varied by marital status. When economic conditions were poor, married women had lower odds of intended pregnancy, whereas cohabiting women had greater odds of intended pregnancy.

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Percheski, Christine and Kimbro, Rachel Tolbert. "Deciding to Wait: Partnership Status, Economic Conditions, and Pregnancy during the Great Recession." Sociological Science, 4, (2017) Sociological Science: 176-195.

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