IN THIS ISSUE: FATHERING ACROSS DIVERSITY AND ADVERSITY: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES AND POLICY INTERVENTIONS; ANDREA DOUCET, ROSALIND EDWARDS, FRANK F. FURSTENBERG: Why Do Poor Men Have Children? Fertility Intentions among Low-Income Unmarried U.S. Fathers Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 The American Academy of Political and
Social Science
The Annals of The American Academy of Political and
Social Science

IN THIS ISSUE: FATHERING ACROSS DIVERSITY AND ADVERSITY: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES AND POLICY INTERVENTIONS; ANDREA DOUCET, ROSALIND EDWARDS, FRANK F. FURSTENBERG: Why Do Poor Men Have Children? Fertility Intentions among Low-Income Unmarried U.S. Fathers

July, 2009

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

624 Annals 99

Author

By JENNIFER MARCH AUGUSTINE, TIMOTHY NELSON, and KATHRYN EDIN

Excerpt

More than one-third of all births in the United States today take place outside of marriage (Hamilton, Martin, and Sutton 2003). Nonmarital childbearing has increased for all segments of society, but it is especially common among members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups (Ventura and Bachrach 2000). Although differences in contraceptive and health care access are certainly important factors underlying these differences in nonmarital fertility (Frost, Singh, and Finer 2007), the increase in nonmarital fertility among disadvantaged groups relative to more privileged Americans has largely been driven by growing socioeconomic differences in childbearing and marriage behavior (Gray, Stockard, and Stone 2006; Wu and Wolfe 2001). Among the more disadvantaged segments of American society, marriage is often seen as desirable but economically untenable, at least during the prime family-building years (Edin and Kefalas 2005; Gibson-Davis, Edin, and McLanahan 2005; Smock, Manning, and Porter 2005). Why then do they proceed with parenthood, which is costly as well?

A small body of qualitative research has provided insight into low-income unmarried women's motivations for putting motherhood before marriage (Edin and Kefalas 2005; see also Rainwater 1965, 1960; Ladner 1971). Yet, little research focuses on their male partners' motivations for becoming fathers (Barber 2001; Greene and Biddlecom 2000). The majority of existing studies concentrate on the demographic correlates of nonmarital fertility among men (Thornberry, Smith, and Howard 1997). While these studies have great value, they do not address the social psychological factors that may underlie these statistical associations (Schoen et al. 1999).

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