Understanding Family Change and Variation

Volume 5 of the series Understanding Population Trends and Processes pp 87-110


Social Class and the Timing and Context of Childbearing

  • Jennifer A. Johnson-HanksAffiliated withDepartment of Demography, University of California at Berkeley Email author 
  • , Christine A. BachrachAffiliated with
  • , S. Philip MorganAffiliated withSociology Department, Duke University
  • , Hans-Peter KohlerAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania, Population Studies Center

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Karen grew up in inner city Philadelphia. She started seeing Bill, a 20 year-old handyman, when she was 16 and soon became pregnant. Karen dropped out of high school during her third trimester, and moved in with Bill. Karen and Bill lived together for about a year and a half before they broke up. Karen now lives at home in a small apartment with her mother and her young daughter, Alexis. Karen hopes to earn her GED 1 day, but for the time being, she is busy raising Alexis and looking for a job with decent pay. Felicia grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University and then went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Felicia then moved to New York City to take a position as an investment banker for a large firm in the financial industry.