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Journal Article

Does Illegitimacy Make a Difference? A Study of the Life Chances of Illegitimate Children in California

Beth Berkov and June Sklar
Population and Development Review
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Jun., 1976), pp. 201-217
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1972016
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972016
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Does Illegitimacy Make a Difference? A Study of the Life Chances of Illegitimate Children in California
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Abstract

There appears to be a universal recognition that the presence of both father and mother is essential to the well-being of a child; yet illegitimacy has been rising in many industrial countries, and increasingly unmarried mothers are choosing to keep their babies rather than give them up for adoption. This study of illegitimate children in California indicates that despite a generally more relaxed attitude toward illegitimacy, children born out of wedlock suffer measurable disadvantages in comparison with legitimate children, even when differences in social class are taken into account. They are more likely to die in infancy, and if they survive they are less likely to grow up in a stable two-parent family, even if their mothers subsequently marry; they are at least three times as likely to require public assistance. Illegitimacy thus constitutes a growing social and demographic problem.

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