Explaining Variation in Fertility Timing: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Marah A. Curtis, Boston University
Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

In this paper, we examine the determinants of variation in fertility timing using a new and diverse birth cohort study, the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, drawn from 20 U.S. cities. We find considerable variation in the time to next birth among comparable mothers who live in different cities. Some of this variation is explained by variation in labor markets, housing costs, and welfare policies, particularly for unmarried women who already have two or more children, whose fertility is more sensitive to these external variables than is the fertility of married women, or unmarried women with just one child.

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Presented in Poster Session 7