Family size as a social leveller for children in the second demographic transition

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Title: Family size as a social leveller for children in the second demographic transition
Authors: Fahey, Tony
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/6574
Date: Oct-2014
Abstract: Steep socio-economic gradients in family size were a major source of disparities for children in the early 20th century and prompted much social research and public commentary. By the 1960s, a scholarly consensus was emerging that SES differentials in women’s fertility in western countries were tending to narrow but developments since then have received limited attention and a children’s perspective relating to the distinct question of sibling numbers (or 'sibsize') has been lacking. Drawing mainly on data from the United States but with some comparative information for other western countries, this paper finds that a sharp reduction in social disparities in sibsize occurred in the final third of the twentieth century and acted as an important (though in the US case, incomplete) social leveller for children. This development is significant as a counter to other aspects of sociodemographic change in the same period which have been found to widen social inequalities for children. A key implication is that until we pay closer attention to sibsize patterns, our picture of how socio-demographic change has affected social inequalities among children in recent decades may be both incomplete and unduly negative.
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Geary Institute
Copyright (published version): 2014 the authors
Keywords: Children;Family;Social inequality;Social stratification
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Geary Institute Working Papers
Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Research Collection

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