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Fertility during Marital Disruption

Ronald R. Rindfuss and Larry L. Bumpass
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 39, No. 3 (Aug., 1977), pp. 517-528
DOI: 10.2307/350906
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/350906
Page Count: 12
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Fertility during Marital Disruption
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Abstract

Childbirth during marital disruption is found to be a surprisingly frequent occurrence. Among twice-married women in both the 1965 and 1970 National Fertility Studies, more than a fourth had given birth between separation and remarriage. Life table procedures are used to estimate the incidence of intermarital fertility based on the experience of women, in 1970, whose marriages had been disrupted, including those currently separated, divorced or widowed. The cumulative percentage experiencing an intermarital birth increases most rapidly during the first 12 months after disruption and then increases more gradually. Age at disruption is found to be a major variable affecting this process, although important differences also are found for a number of other variables, including race, education and parity. The cumulative prevalence of having experienced intermarital fertility among women over age 30 is explored in a multivariate analysis. Both the prevalence of intermarital fertility and the social policy issues which are involved suggest that this phenomenon may be similar in importance to illegitimacy.

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