The Cohort Trends of Family Size and the Rise of Female Advantages: Examining the Relationship between Family Resources and College Enrollment
I-Chien Chen, Michigan State University
Barbara Schneider, University of Chicago
Ken Frank, Michigan State University
Shrinking family size has resulted in an increase in the allocation of educational resources for each child in a family. However, whether smaller family size increases or decreases opportunities for college enrollment may depend on how parents distribute the resources and how children respond to this structural change. Little attention has been placed on the trend of smaller families and how it modifies the distribution of family resources per child at home. To fill the gap, we combine data from four national surveys of American high school students to map the trend of family size and family resources. These data describe four cohorts of 10th graders, ages 14-18, from 1980, 1988, 1994, and 2002. This study aims to understand the rise in female advantage in educational opportunities gained through smaller family size, parents' gender-specific resources, and investment strategies through parent efficacy and aligned actions.