(K)Inequality in Black and White Families: A Microsimulation Approach

Pil H. Chung, University of California, Berkeley

Black-white differences in age-specific mortality rates condition differing profiles of kin availability over the lifecourse. Using microsimulation techniques, I simulate complete family networks assuming real-time exposure to race-stratified fertility and mortality schedules observed in the USA over the period 1910 to 2009. Results indicate that black individuals are likely to transition into different kin relations (e.g. parenthood) at earlier ages and remain in those relations for shorter durations than their white peers. This race-specific pattern holds true for potentially disruptive kinship transitions at childhood and adolescence that are characterized by the loss of one or more family members (i.e. orphanhood). Additionally, the likelihood of being in many of these disruptive kin relations is significantly higher for blacks than for whites. These race differences in kinship transition timing and probability are present in all birth cohorts with some evidence of a narrowing gap over generations.

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Presented in Session 34: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Mortality