Abstract

Earlier models of fertility hypothesize that marital dissolution and remarriage influence subsequent childbearing. This issue is examined by comparing the fertility of those in disrupted marriages with that of those in stable marriages. The results indicate that, by transferring women into a nonmarried status, marital dissolution decreases childbearing. The data also suggest that discord reduces fertility even before separation occurs—separated women had reduced fertility during the two years just before separation. It was found that marital dissolution without remarriage operates to truncate childbearing, thus decreasing family size. Dissolution followed by remarriage, however, lengthens the childbearing span of whites and has no influence on average family size; remarrying white women are able to make up for the childbearing lost between marriages. For nonwhites, we found that dissolution and remarriage increase the average time to childbirth, but, even more importantly, these events greatly decrease the number of children born.

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