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Race/Ethnic Differences in Female Headship: Exploring the Assumptions of Assimilation Theory

Elizabeth Wildsmith
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 85, No. 1 (MARCH 2004), pp. 89-106
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42955929
Page Count: 18
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Race/Ethnic Differences in Female Headship: Exploring the Assumptions of Assimilation Theory
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Abstract

Objective. This article conducts a comparative analysis of temporal and generational patterns in Mexican-American female headship compared to patterns for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. These patterns are explored within two frameworks of assimilation, the more general assimilation perspective and the "segmented" assimilation perspective. Methods. Logistic regression analysis looking at female headship is conducted using die 1960-1990 IPUMS. Additional analyses use the 1995 CPS to look at intergenerational patterns of female headship, divorce, and nonmarital fertility among Mexican-origin women relative to other groups of women. Results. Analysis using the IPUMS finds that U.S.-born Mexican-origin women have higher levels of female headship in every year compared to white women, and this difference has actually increased over time. Additionally, analysis using the 1995 CPS finds that while levels of female headship for second-generation Mexican-origin women are no higher, levels for thirdgeneration Mexican-origin women far surpass those of white women. The high levels of female headship and the proportion of never married women with children in the household among third-generation Mexican-American women are starding and lend more support to a "segmented" assimilation framework.

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