Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 59-79

First online:

Are Generation X’ers Different than Late Boomers? Family and Earnings Trends among Recent Cohorts of Women at Young Adulthood

  • Christopher R. TamboriniAffiliated withOffice of Retirement Policy, U.S. Social Security Administration Email author 
  • , Howard M. IamsAffiliated withOffice of Research Evaluation and Statistics, U.S. Social Security Administration

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This article examines emerging trends in childbearing, marital status, and earnings for U.S. women over young adulthood across recent birth cohorts spanning the late baby boom and Generation X. We use a unique dataset that matches the 1990, 1996, and 2004 fertility and marital history modules of the Survey of Income and Program Participation with Social Security Administration longitudinal earnings records derived from survey respondents’ own tax records. While there have been some cohort-level changes, we find little empirical evidence of large-scale shifts in the family and earnings histories of young adult women born toward the end of Generation X, particularly college graduates, relative to their late baby-boom counterparts at the same stage of the life course. The broader implications of our findings and directions for further research are discussed.


Generation X Women Family and earnings Young adulthood Social Security longitudinal earnings data