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Convergence towards diversity?: cohort analysis of fertility and family formation in South Korea

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This dissertation explores changes in fertility and family formation in South Korea, a setting in which rapid demographic changes have taken place since the early twentieth century. Despite active debate

This dissertation explores changes in fertility and family formation in South Korea, a setting in which rapid demographic changes have taken place since the early twentieth century. Despite active debate and discussion among experts and policymakers, knowledge is still limited in regards to the country’s significant demographic changes. I take advantage of Korean census samples data from 1966 to 2010, which span birth cohorts from pre- and early-transitional stages to post-transitional stages, which comprise the entry stage of the second demographic transition. From a cohort perspective, I use diverse demographic methods to analyze three different aspects of fertility and family formation—fertility differentials, marriage delay, and fertility concentration.

The findings illustrate how fertility and marriage patterns have changed over generations and range from a politically tumultuous period, which includes World War II, liberation, and the Korean War, to an advanced economic period. By and large, the three studies suggest that until 1960, fertility and family formation converged as per social norms and leadership guidelines. Then, marriage and childbearing behaviors began to diversify and variation by social groups increased for cohorts born during and after the 1960s. The phrase “convergence towards diversity” captures the reversal of demographic trends within the country. Taken together, this dissertation advances our understanding of how fertility and family formation have changed in South Korea, which has been on an intense demographic journey from pre-transitional fertility through very low fertility, and currently headed toward another destination.

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  • 2015

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Racial and ethnic differences in marriage: the importance of metropolitan context

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Racial and ethnic differences in marriage outcomes are well established in the previous literature. In addition, variation in the social structure in which individuals reside has an impact on the

Racial and ethnic differences in marriage outcomes are well established in the previous literature. In addition, variation in the social structure in which individuals reside has an impact on the context in which mate selection and marriage occur. The purpose of this dissertation is to determine how these variations shape marriage outcomes for Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Asians. Beyond racial and ethnic characteristics, this series of studies take into account temporal metropolitan characteristics. Study 1 uses U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to predict metropolitan marriage prevalence at three time points: 1990, 2000 and 2010. Study 2 predicts the odds that individuals across the four racial/ethnic groups have never married, taking into account structural characteristics including region of residence. Study 3 predicts the odds that currently married women are racially or ethnically intermarried, with emphasis on race/ethnicity and region of residence. The results suggest that metropolitan structural characteristics matter somewhat, but individuals' race/ethnicity is the strongest predictor of both the odds of having never married and intermarriage. There is also evidence that region serves as a moderator impacting the overall marriage outcomes of racial/ethnic minority groups to a greater extent in comparison to Non-Hispanic Whites.

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  • 2016