Abstract

Fertility is a life course process that is strongly shaped by geographic and sociodemographic subgroup contexts. In the United States, scholars face a choice: they can situate fertility in a life course perspective using panel data, which is typically representative only at the national level; or they can attend to subnational contexts using rate schedules, which do not include information on life course statuses. The method and data source we introduce here, Census-Held Linked Administrative Records for Fertility Estimation (CLAR-FE), permits both. It derives fertility histories and rate schedules from U.S. Census Bureau–held data for the nation and by state, racial and ethnic subgroups, and the important life course status of parity. We generate three types of rates for 2000–2020 at the national and state levels by race and ethnicity: age-specific rates and both unconditional and conditional parity- and age-specific rates. Where possible, we compare these rates with those produced by the National Center for Health Statistics. Our new rate schedules illuminate state and racial and ethnic differences in transitions to parenthood, providing evidence of the important subgroup heterogeneity that characterizes the United States. CLAR-FE covers nearly the entire U.S. population and is available to researchers on approved projects through the Census Bureau's Federal Statistical Research Data Centers.

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