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Author: Finnigan, Ryan
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1. Finnigan, Ryan
Childhood Family Structure, Education, and Intergenerational Mobility in the United States
Presented: Philadelphia PA, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2018
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: American Sociological Association
Keyword(s): Educational Attainment; Family Structure; General Social Survey (GSS); Mobility, Occupational

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Despite voluminous research on the long-term effects of childhood family structure in the United States, empirical assessments of its salience for intergenerational income mobility have been sparse. Bloome’s (2017) recent study found intergenerational income persistence was stronger for children of two-parent families than for children from outside them. However, this ostensibly greater mobility was driven by downward mobility among children of high-income non-two-parent families. This builds on past research in four ways: examining education as a mechanism for income mobility differences by family structure; comparing patterns of income mobility with occupational status mobility; predicting children’s educational attainment with an interaction between childhood family structure and parental income/occupational status; and testing for cohort differences in the family-structure occupational mobility difference. I find education explains only a minority of the family-structure difference in income mobility in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. Educational explains almost the entire difference in occupational status mobility in the General Social Survey. Family-structure differences in educational attainment primarily reflect a lower probability of attaining a college degree for children from high-income non-two-parent families compared to high-income two-parent families in both surveys. Finally, I find some evidence family-structure differences in occupational status mobility have increased across birth cohorts.
Bibliography Citation
Finnigan, Ryan. "Childhood Family Structure, Education, and Intergenerational Mobility in the United States." Presented: Philadelphia PA, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2018.