, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 607-627

First online:

Diverging destinies: How children are faring under the second demographic transition

  • Sara MclanahanAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

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In this article, I argue that the trends associated with the second demographic transition are following two trajectories and leading to greater disparities in children’s resources. Whereas children who were born to the most-educated women are gaining resources, in terms of parents’ time and money, those who were born to the least-educated women are losing resources. The forces behind these changes include feminism, new birth control technologies, changes in labor market opportunities, and welfare-state policies. I contend that Americans should be concerned about the growing disparity in parental resources and that the government can do more to close the gap between rich and poor children.