, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 125–135 | Cite as

Husbands’ and wives’ characteristics and fertility decisions: A diagonal mobility model

  • Ann Marie Sorenson


In this article a diagonal mobility model is used to describe the relative effects of husbands’ and wives’ characteristics on fertility. Compared with the characteristics of their wives, the characteristics of non-Hispanic husbands are nearly insignificant in their effect on fertility. The relative importance of husbands’ attributes is much greater among Mexican-American couples. Although this suggests ethnic stereotypes about male dominance in Mexican-American families, differences in female educational attainment may offer a better explanation. The most immediate conclusion from this analysis pertains to the use of wives’ characteristics as a proxy for couple data. This strategy is reasonable if female educational levels generally extend into high school. Relying on wives’ characteristics to study marital fertility, however, may be problematic if the analysis involves respondents with a wide range of educational levels.


Educational Level Educational Attainment Family Size Weight Parameter Marital Fertility 
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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Marie Sorenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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