Fertility differentials and the redefinition of the normative structure across racial/ethnic lines



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The United States has seen tremendous growth since it has achieved a population of 300 million. Interestingly, events like this mask the heterogeneity of fertility behavior particularly along racial/ethnic lines. Unfortunately, despite the voluminous literature examining the dynamics and differentials of fertility, extant studies suffer from several limitations including the treatment of racial/ethnic groups as homogenous, the cross-sectionality of their analyses, or their focus on either current or cumulative fertility ultimately underplaying the complexity of fertility behavior. Therefore, this dissertation investigates the fertility behavior of Mexican American and white women paying particular attention to race/ethnicity and social mobility by conducting a quantitative analysis of current and cumulative fertility behavior of women at three different points in their life course. The findings demonstrate the significant effect that socioeconomic characteristics and race have on explaining the higher fertility of Mexican American women in the United States thus, encouraging the adoption of a racial/ethnic stratification framework in studies of fertility.