The Changing Composition of Young Fathers and the Effects of Early Fathering on Education and Labor Market Outcomes

Maureen Pirog, Indiana University, Bloomington
Haeil Jung, Indiana University, Bloomington

This article examines differences in the composition of teen (up to age 19) and young (ages 20-24) fathers using the 1979 and 1997 panels of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY). To make a valid comparison between two generations, we compare three cohorts (born between 1962 and 1964) from the 1979 NLSY with three cohorts (born between 1980 and 1982) from the 1997 panel of NLSY. Respondents were 15 to 17 years of age when they responded to the first survey in both panels. Initial estimates indicate that reports by teen males of fathering children are more common in the 1997 panel than in the 1979 panel, and that early fathering has likely moved from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds into the social mainstream. Using regression models, we also examine the changing impacts of teen fatherhood on education and labor market outcomes at age 25.

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Presented in Session 197: New Views on Early Parenthood: Gender and Cross-National Perspectives