Race and Childlessness in America, 1988–2002


  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Social and Demographic Research Institute, W34A Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts, 240 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9278 (lundquist@soc.umass.edu).


This paper bridges the literature on childlessness, which often focuses on married White couples, to the literature on race and fertility, which often focuses on why total fertility rates and nonmarital births are higher for Blacks than Whites. Despite similarity in levels of childlessness among Black women and White women, Black trends have been largely ignored. Recent research has not adequately explored the extent to which factors driving childlessness may vary among Black and White women. We attempted to fill this gap using the National Survey of Family Growth (N = 3,628) and found many similarities in the predictors of childlessness for both races. Exceptions were the role of marital status and educational attainment.