A Latent Growth Curve Model of Nonmarital Births, Abortions, and Pregnancies: Did Welfare Reform Play a Role in Changing the Trajectories?

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Abstract

This article uses latent growth models to examine the effect of three welfare reform policies, viz., family caps, stricter work requirements, and time limits on fertility outcomes. The study is the first to extend the application of this statistical modeling approach to an examination of reproductive behavior. Using state level panel data for 1992-2005 we attempt to determine if welfare reform has contributed to changes in the trajectories of nonmarital births, abortions, and pregnancies beyond what would have naturally occurred through the passage of time. Our results show that states vary considerably in both their mean initial level as well as linear trajectories of fertility outcomes and that welfare reform has helped hasten the decline in nonmarital births, abortions, and pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-385
Number of pages23
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Keywords

  • PRWORA
  • family cap
  • fertility
  • jobs
  • latent growth curves
  • random effects models
  • time limit
  • trajectory models
  • welfare reform

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