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Intermarriage and Unwanted Fertility in the United States

Frank D. Bean and Linda H. Aiken
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1976), pp. 61-72
DOI: 10.2307/350550
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/350550
Page Count: 12
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Intermarriage and Unwanted Fertility in the United States
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Abstract

It is hypothesized that heterogamous couples are more likely to incur accidental pregnancies and thus to have unwanted births than homogamous couples, irrespective of differences between heterogamous and homogamous couples in desired or wanted family size. Using data from the 1965 National Fertility Survey, this paper tests this idea with respect to three dimensions along which intermarriage may occur: religion, education, and age. Higher than expected unwanted fertility is observed in the case of religious heterogamy, but not in the cases of age and educational heterogamy. Data on the frequency of church attendance are also introduced to see whether fertility consequences of interfaith marriages depend on presumed differences between spouses in religious ideology or on the fact that intermarriage attracts less religious persons whose fertility behavior differs on that account. The results seem compatible with the idea that characteristics of interfaith marriages rather than of individuals who intermarry generate certain patterns of childbearing.

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