The Impact of Changes in Maternal Age on the Wellbeing of Children
Elizabeth Wildsmith, University of Pennsylvania
Frank Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania
The primary objective of this paper is to examine how recent changes in maternal age at first birth have impacted the health and wellbeing of children, accounting for changes in other factors associated with both age at first birth and wellbeing. An additional objective is to determine whether these relationships vary for children from different race/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. We use individual and contextual data from the 1995 and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to explore these questions. These data allow us to examine differences in health and wellbeing for two birth cohorts (1988-1992: high teenage fertility and 1998-2002: relatively lower teenage fertility). Specifically we look at birth cohort differences in birthweight, birth intendedness, and breastfeeding for children. We control for a variety of individual and contextual level characteristics that may also have changed over this time period.