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Demographic: Race in rural America: differentials in teenage motherhood and high school completion

Mother and child in front of trailer

Seth Sanders — Duke University
Laurel Wheeler — Duke University

We study differences in teenage motherhood and high school completion between races, and in particular how such differences relate to differences in housing. This research uses a combination of restricted-access data from the American Community Survey and Decennial Census, plus public data on household assets from corresponding years of the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, to investigate omitted variable bias in the relationship between race, teenage motherhood, and high school completion. Our previous work indicates that among mobile home residents (a population group that on average has relatively few financial assets), rates of teenage motherhood and high school completion are similar between Blacks and Whites. The restricted-access data allow us to disentangle wealth effects from social interaction effects via fixed effect control variables created at the tract level to (approximately) group mobile home residents into mobile home parks. In so doing, we test the hypothesis that omitted variable bias drives the correlation between race, teenage motherhood, and high school completion.


 

Duke University

FSRDC

RTI