A CLOSER LOOK AT THE SECOND DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION IN THE US: EVIDENCE OF BIDIRECTIONALITY FROM A COHORT PERSPECTIVE (1982-2006)

Open Access
Author:
Buher-Kane, Jennifer
Graduate Program:
Sociology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 01, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Paul Amato, Alan Booth (Co Chairs), Thesis Advisor
  • Alan Booth, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • ideational shift
  • second demographic transition
  • fertility
  • cohort
Abstract:
Second demographic transition theory argues that increased individualism and secularization has led to continued low fertility in Europe, but no study has directly tested this hypothesis with individual-level data in the US. Using longitudinal data from the NLSY79 cohort, this study explores the influences of several factors (secularization, egalitarianism, religious affiliation, and employment) on fertility behavior over time (1982-2006). Analyses draw on results from longitudinal and cross-lagged structural equation models. The findings lend support to the relevance of second demographic transition theory in the US, provide evidence of “American bipolarity,” and reveal the bidirectional nature of these relationships over time.