The Relationship Between Income Segregation and Teen Birthrates
This paper examines the relationship between income segregation and teenage birthrates in the U.S. at the level of commuting zones. Previous research has used state-level data to demonstrate the impact of relative income inequality, as opposed to absolute income inequality, on birthrates among teenage females between 15- and 19-years-old. I hypothesize that greater degrees of income segregation--particularly segregation of the poor, though, segregation of the affluent is also examined--is likely associated with higher birthrates among teenagers. Preliminary findings show that in commuting zones where poverty segregation is relatively high, there is a positive correlation between the degree to which the poor are segregated from the local population and teenage birthrates. After controlling for demographic and community characteristics, ordinary least squares regression analysis reveals a positive and statistically significant relationship between teenage birthrates and the degree to which both the top (the affluent) and bottom (the poor) quarters of the national income distribution are residentially segregated within commuting zones. Though additional empirical work is necessary to more presicesly understand the relationship, these results may be suggestive for policymakers interested in, for instance, education and urban issues.
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