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J Res Adolesc. 1993;3(4):393-422.

Age at first childbirth and later poverty.



A linear structural equation model is used in this research study in order to estimate the simultaneous effects of age at first birth on a woman's subsequent socioeconomic conditions and related outcomes after the age of 27 years. Estimation was accomplished with a variant of Amemiya's principle and a feasible generalized least squares estimator. Analysis involved examination of the bivariate relationship between age at first birth and poverty at age 27 years for Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, followed by structural equation models for each racial group and then analysis of the total and indirect effects of age at first birth on poverty. Poverty is measured as the ratio of family income to the poverty threshold. Findings indicate that the association between early childbearing and poverty at the age of 27 years is very strong. Young women with educated parents and women with reading materials in their home before the age of 14 years achieved more schooling. When these effects were controlled, being raised by both parents and having more siblings were only associated with more schooling among Whites. Rural Blacks and Whites completed more schooling than rural Hispanics. Blacks in poor states had lower educational attainment. Age at first birth was only significant among Hispanics. First birth was delayed by 1.26 years among Blacks, 0.88 years among Whites, and 0.98 years among Hispanics for having an additional year of schooling. Delaying marriage had the strongest effect among Whites. Delayed childbearing among Blacks was predicted by having fewer siblings, being raised by both parents, and later menstruation. Earlier White childbearing was associated with women from larger families and women with larger ideal family sizes. Hispanic women raised by both parents was associated with delayed childbearing. Findings confirm that age at first birth was associated for all racial groups with poverty. Age at first birth affected educational attainment of Hispanics and age at first marriage among Whites. Age at first birth impacted on poverty through the number of children among Blacks and Whites, White and Hispanic women's earnings, and Hispanic earnings among other household members. Delaying first births had minimal impact on later poverty among Blacks and considerable impact among Whites and Hispanics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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