McClendon, David (2012). Red and blue political differences in the timing and relationship context of first births among young adults. 2012 Add Health Users Conference.
In the US, there is a strong relationship between politics and demographic behavior. Politically liberal or “blue” states have lower fertility and higher levels of delayed family formation and non-traditional childbearing. Politically conservative or “red” states display higher fertility, earlier family formation, and a greater emphasis on marital childbearing. Some scholars attribute this pattern to differences in cultural orientations, namely the post-materialist values of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). I test this explanation at the individual-level by examining political differentials in the relationship context of first births among the Add Health cohort. I utilize Wave-4 pregnancy data to estimate event history models predicting the risk of first birth within four types of relationships: marriage, cohabitation, dating, and no relationship. Because relationship-status is reported at the time of the pregnancy, I restrict my outcome to pregnancies that result in a live birth. The SDT predicts that blues will be less likely, overall, to experience a first birth compared to reds. When they do experience a first birth, blues will be more likely than reds to be cohabiting. Finally, while the risks for dating and no-relationship births will decrease over time and the risks for marital and cohabitation births will increase, this pattern will vary by political orientation. This study sheds light on the contemporary cultural dynamics of young-adult fertility.
2012 Add Health Users Conference
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