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Estimating Children’s Household Instability Between Birth and Age 18 Using Longitudinal Household Roster Data

Abstract

Previous descriptions of the composition and stability of children’s households have focused on the presence of parents and the stability of mothers’ marital and cohabiting relationships. We use data available in the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation to expand the description of children’s household composition and stability. We find that one in five children lives with nonnuclear household members. These other household members are a source of substantial household instability. In addition, during the period of observation (2008–2013), children experienced considerable residential instability. Thus, children’s experience of household instability is much more common and frequent than previously documented. Moreover, levels of both residential and compositional instability are higher for children with less-educated mothers and for racial/ethnic minorities.

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Acknowledgments

This research benefited from comments by FAMDEM seminar participants, especially Abigail Weitzman and Alex Weinreb, PRC Brownbag participants, and the comments of anonymous reviewers. It was supported by Grants P2CHD042849, Population Research Center, awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin; and R03HD090425, Children’s Family and Household Experiences (Raley PI) by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to R. Kelly Raley.

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Raley, R.K., Weiss, I., Reynolds, R. et al. Estimating Children’s Household Instability Between Birth and Age 18 Using Longitudinal Household Roster Data. Demography 56, 1957–1973 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-019-00806-1

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Households
  • Race
  • Education
  • Kin