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Marital Fertility Patterns and Nonmarital Birth Ratios: An Integrated Approach

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: In a 1974 paper, Coale and Trussell described an empirical relationship between the age-specific fertility rate, the marital fertility rate, and the proportion of women with first marriages. However, their key assumption was no nonmarital fertility. This obscures the relationship between nonmarital fertility and overall fertility that distinguishes many modern Western societies from those of East Asia. Here, their equation is extended to incorporate nonmarital fertility and dual equations are derived relating age-specific fertility, marital or nonmarital fertility, proportion of women with first marriages, and the proportion of births within or outside of marriage. These equations are validated with multi-year data from countries in Europe, the USA (both African-Americans and White Americans) and Japan. They also help to illustrate the dilemma facing modern societies: between a relatively high marriage age, low nonmarital birth ratios, and high fertility, they can only accommodate two in combination.

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