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

Christine Percheski, Rachel Tolbert Kimbro

Sociological Science, February 20, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a8

Abstract

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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.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Christine Percheski: Department of Sociology and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Email: c-percheski@northwestern.edu

Rachel Tolbert Kimbro: Department of Sociology, Rice University
Email: rtkimbro@rice.edu

Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty Emerging Scholars Family Complexity Small Grant program.

  • Citation: Percheski, Christine, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro. 2017. “Deciding to Wait: Partnership Status, Economic Conditions, and Pregnancy during the Great Recession.” Sociological Science 4: 176-195.
  • Received: September 23, 2016
  • Accepted: January 9, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a8

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