68 Works

Field of Study and Earnings Inequality among the Highly Educated: 1993-2010

Joseph A. Ritter & Kristine L. West
Field of study specializes individuals’ human capital in ways that might be either substitutable or complementary to technological change. We study changes in the earnings distribution of the college-educated population between 1993 and 2010 using the National Survey of College Graduates. After documenting changes that increase earnings inequality, we decompose them into composition and wage-structure effects. We find that composition effects account for virtually none of the growth of inequality and, in fact, are surprisingly...

Spatial Manifestations of the “Great American Migration Slowdown”: A Decomposition of Inter-County Migration Rates, 1990-2012

Jack DeWaard, Elizabeth Fussell, Katherine J. Curtis & Jasmine Trang Ha
Prior research on the “Great American Migration Slowdown,” which refers to the declining rate of U.S. internal migration in recent years and decades, has ignored the spatial manifestations of migration slowdown. This misses an important part of the story because, as we show in this paper, U.S. counties became increasingly connected to one another by migration over the past two decades, with gains in migration “connectivity” helping to partially offset the Great American Migration Slowdown....

Capturing the American People: Census Technology and Institutional Change, 1790-2020

Steven Ruggles & Diana L. Magnuson
Political considerations not only shaped the content and applications of the census, but also the mechanics of census taking. This essay traces the history of U. S. census data capture, which we define as the methods and technologies used to transform raw census responses into statistical tables. By focusing on federal responses to a specific technical challenge over a very long span, our narrative illuminates the long-run effects of shifting societal preoccupations on bureaucratic decision-making....

Roommates or Families? Access to Housing and the Transition to Non-Marital Cohabitation in Sweden

Nathanael T. Lauster
Some researchers suggest that non-marital cohabitants behave like a subcategory of roommates, while others find non-marital cohabitants behave like new families. If non-marital cohabitants behave like roommates, then more access to housing would make young adults more likely to remain single. If non-marital cohabitants behave like families, then more access to housing would make young adults more likely to cohabit. In this paper I directly test these two competing hypotheses with life course data from...

The Rise of Cohabitation in the United States: New Historical Estimates

Catherine Fitch, Ron Goeken & Steven Ruggles
This paper improves on previous attempts to infer cohabitation from the decennial census. The 1990 and 2000 censuses included specific responses for “unmarried partner” in the relationship question; previous censuses classified these individuals in broader “partner/roommate” or “partner/friend” categories. Our goal is to infer as best we can which individuals in the censuses of 1960 though 1980 would have described themselves as opposite sex unmarried partners if that option had been available on the census....

Continued Interest in the Appalachian Immigrant is not Warranted: Appalachian Out-Migrants in the Larger Southern Exodus, 1940-1980

J. Trent Alexander
Even as southern Appalachian migrants began to actively assert a group identity in some northern cities in the late 1960s, it was an open question as to whether they ought to be considered a group at all. In the years since the 1960s, the fate of southern Appalachian migrants in the North and Midwest has continued to be the subject of much debate. Migrants from the southern Appalachian region were clearly a group apart in...

State-Level High School Completion Rates: Concepts, Measures and Trends

John Robert Warren
I review state-level measures of high school completion rates, and describe and validate a new measure that reports these rates for 1973 through 2000. Existing measures based on Current Population Surveys are conceptually imperfect and statistically unreliable. Measures based on Common Core Data (CCD) dropout information are unavailable for many states and have different conceptual weaknesses. Existing measures based on CCD enrollment and completion data are systematically biased by migration, changes in cohort size, and...

Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Young Adult Union Formation

Ann Meier, Gina Allen & Christina Falci
Life course sociologists and developmental psychologists assert that adolescent romantic relationships further the developmental goal of providing “practice” for romantic relationships in adulthood. Yet, we know little about how patterns of romantic involvement in adolescence translate into young adult relationships. This paper examines the role of adolescents’ romantic relationship experience on young adult unions. Using three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we identify adolescent romantic relationship trajectories. First, we investigate how...

Drawing Statistical Inferences from Historical Census Data

Michael Davern, Steven Ruggles, Tami Swenson & J. Michael Oakes
Virtually all quantitative microdata used by social scientists derive from samples that incorporate clustering, stratification, and weighting adjustments (Kish 1992, 1965). Such data can yield standard error estimates that differ dramatically from a simple random sample of the same size. Researchers using historical U.S. census microdata, however, usually apply methods designed for simple random samples. The resulting p-values and confidence intervals could be inaccurate and could lead to erroneous research conclusions. Because U.S. census microdata...

Intermittent Child Employment and Its Implications for Estimates of Child Labor

Deborah Levison, Jasper Hoek, David Lam & Suzanne Duryea
This paper uses longitudinal data from urban Brazil to analyze intermittency in children’s work activity and the implications of this intermittency for estimates of child labor. We follow the employment patterns of urban children ages 10-16 during 4 months in their lives. Different waves of the panel cover most of the 1980s and 1990s, providing information on the work activity of thousands of children. We document a large decline in child employment in the 1990s....

Child Domestic Servants in Latin America: Numbers, Trends and Education

Deborah Levison & Anna Langer
This paper summarizes trends in the use of child domestic servants in six Latin American countries using IPUMS-International census samples for 1960 to 2000. Child domestics are among the most vulnerable of child workers, and the most invisible. They may be treated kindly and allowed to attend school, or they may be secluded in their employers’ home, overworked, verbally abused, beaten, and unable to leave or report their difficulties to kin. Estimates and imputations are...

Age Heaping and Cancer Rate Estimation in Nigeria

Benjamin J.S. al-Haddad, Elima Jedy-Agba, Emmanual Oga & Clement Adebamowo
Age heaping is an important source of demographic bias in many countries. There is little scholarship on the effect of age heaping on cancer rate estimation. We use Nigerian demographic and cancer registry data to (1) quantify age heaping in states and within cancer registries using the Myers Blended Index and (2) examine the effect of residual age heaping bias on age standardized cancer rates (ASRs). We find severe age heaping at the level of...

The Temporal Dynamics and Stability of Black Migration to the South, 1970-2000: New Insights on Old Trends

Jack DeWaard, Katherine J. Curtis & Glenn V. Fuguitt
The “New Great Migration” of blacks to the South was and continues to be one of the most important demographic shifts in recent U.S. history, and refers to a black net-migration reversal in the South from negative to positive in the 1970s for the first time since before the Great Migration of blacks out of the region in the early and middle parts of the twentieth century. While prior research has told the story of...

The Impact of Divorce Legislation on Daily Time Allocation

Katie R. Genadek
Using time diary data from the mid-1970s, the relationship between unilateral divorce and couple-level time allocation is estimated. Married women in states with unilateral divorce are found to be spending less time in household production and core housework than those in states without unilateral divorce, and married men are found to be doing a greater share of housework within families. This paper also uses cross state and time variation in divorce law by including data...

Patriarchy, Power, and Pay: The Transformation of American Families, 1800–2015

Steven Ruggles
This article proposes explanations for the transformation of American families over the past two centuries. I describe the impact on families of the rise of male wage labor beginning in the nineteenth century and the rise of female wage labor in the twentieth century. I then examine the effects of decline in wage labor opportunities for young men and women during the past four decades. I present new estimates of a precipitous decline in the...

Parents' time with a partner in cross-national context: A comparison of the US, Spain, and France

Joan Garcia Roman, Sarah M. Flood & Katie Genadek
Time shared with a partner is an indicator of marital well-being and couples wants to spend time together. However, time with a partner depends on work and family arrangements as well as the policies, norms and values that prevail in society. Contrary to time spent with children, couples’ shared time in cross-national context is relatively unstudied. Previous studies from specific countries show that dual-earner couples spend less time together and that parents spend less time...

Historical Census Record Linkage

Steven Ruggles, Catherine Fitch & Evan Roberts
For the past 80 years, social scientists have been linking historical censuses across time to study economic and geographic mobility. In recent decades, the quantity of historical census record linkage has exploded, owing largely to the advent of new machine-readable data created by genealogical organizations. Investigators are examining economic and geographic mobility across multiple generations, but also engaging many new topics. Several analysts are exploring the effects of early-life socioeconomic conditions, environmental exposures, or natural...

Domestic Violence, Decision-Making Power and Female Employment in Colombia

Johanna Fajardo-Gonzalez
Using data from the Colombian Demographic and Health Survey, I study the relationship between domestic violence (DV) and women’s employment. I find a positive relationship between DV and employment, which persists when I exploit husband’s childhood experience of domestic violence as a source of plausibly exogenous variation for the incidence of DV. I find that the incidence of DV increases the likelihood of female employment by about 19 percentage points. To explore potential mechanisms underlying...

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