Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 205–222

Family structure, economic status, and educational attainment

  • Scott Boggess

DOI: 10.1007/s001480050065

Cite this article as:
Boggess, S. J Popul Econ (1998) 11: 205. doi:10.1007/s001480050065


This study examines the effect of family structure on high school graduation by race and gender using data from the first twenty-one waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and recently available retrospective marital histories. The nature of the data allows for a more complete specification of family structure than has been heretofore possible. The analysis tests the hypothesis that the negative effect on educational attainment often associated with living in a mother-only or stepfather family stems primarily from the reduced level of economic resources available to these households. Empirical findings indicate that living with a widowed, divorced, or separated mother has little or no effect on educational attainment once we control for economic status. However, living in a stepfather family appears to have a persistent negative effect on high school graduation rates.

JEL classification: J12I20I30
Key words: Family structureeducationincome

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Boggess
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Demography, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057-1043, USA (Fax: 202-687-5049)US