Life Course Trajectories and Neighborhood Context: A Cohort Based Study of Transition to Parenthood

Eva K. Andersson, Stockholm University
Bo Malmberg, Stockholm University
Elizabeth Thomson, Stockholm University and University of Wisconsin-Madison

This paper argues that contextual effects on childbearing patterns should be seen as the result of neighborhood influences during childhood and adolescence on the life-course trajectories of young adults. This can be understood as the joint effect of collective socialization, formation of social norms, social control, role model influence and patterns of opportunities at the neighborhood level. Empirically, the argument is supported by an analysis of childbearing patterns in a single-year birth cohort using Swedish longitudinal register data and a novel approach to contextual measurement. The model estimates support the idea that neighborhood influence of education, poverty and income careers play an important role for the family formation patterns of young Swedes. An important finding in this study is that in the Swedish context, early childbearing is not only a phenomenon of disadvantaged neighborhoods, but can also be found for individuals from areas that promote early income careers for men.

See paper

 Presented in Session 100. Determinants of Fertility Timing