Author(s): Sweeney MM, Raley RK
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Abstract In what ways do childbearing patterns in the contemporary United States vary for white, black, and Hispanic women? Why do these differences exist? Although completed family size is currently similar for white and black women, and only modestly larger for Hispanic women, we highlight persistent differences across groups with respect to the timing of childbearing, the relationship context of childbearing, and the extent to which births are intended. We next evaluate key explanations for these differences. Guided by a "proximate determinants" approach, we focus here on patterns of sexual activity, contraceptive use, and post-conception outcomes such as abortion and changes in mothers' relationship status. We find contraceptive use to be a particularly important contributor to racial and ethnic differences in childbearing, yet reasons for varying use of contraception itself remain insufficiently understood. We end by reflecting on promising directions for further research.
This article was published in Annu Rev Sociol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals