Fertility Postponement and Late Transitions to Motherhood

Marissa C. Wheeler, University of Pennsylvania

Fertility postponement is a widespread trend. Though fertility intentions data suggest that postponed births will be made up at later ages, age-related declines in fecundity raise doubts about transitions to parenthood at later ages. This paper uses event history analysis and data from the NLSY79 (N = 1,483) to examine transitions to parenthood after age 30. I find that marriage is overwhelmingly the most important predictor of a first birth among women who delay childbearing to age 30, followed by age. The size of the marriage-late fertility association, however, varies by race and education, which suggests that differential selection into childlessness at older ages and differential pathways to late fertility by social groups may be operating.

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Presented in Poster Session 6