FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

Mothers’ union status, education and birth outcomes during the economic crisis in Spain

GT 3 Sociología de la Familia

Xiaoteng Hu (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
Lluís Flaquer Vilardebò (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Anna Garriga Alsina (Universidad Pompeu Fabra)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 3B : Dinámicas familiares
Responsable(s): Livia García Faroldi (Universidad de Málaga)
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: viernes, 1 de julio de 2016
Hora: 14:00 a 16:00
Lugar: 011

Spain has often been regarded as a country with strong Catholic tradition, where marriage had a sacred status as the nearly exclusive context for union formation and parenthood. However, family structure has become more diverse since the mid-1990s, especially as a result of the diffusion of cohabitation and an increasing number of children born in cohabiting unions. Cohabitation in Spain was traditionally more common among women with high educational and occupational level, whereas recent studies show that cohabiting and single mothers have lower educational level than married ones. More importantly, the growing differences in family structure between women with diverse socioeconomic characteristics are leading to greater disparities in children’s resources and welfare (McLanahan, 2004). Additionally, the economic crisis that started in Spain by 2008, may have had an adverse impact on family welfare and child well-being. This study focuses on the association between maternal union status, mothers’ educational and occupational attainments, and health outcomes of their first births during the economic crisis in Spain. We only focus on mothers’ first births because these infants are probably most relevant for prompting union status transitions from unmarried to married, particularly for never-married mothers. We are mainly asking four research questions in this paper: (a) whether or not newborn’s health outcomes are related to mothers’ union status; (b) whether or not disparities in newborn’s health outcomes by union status can be explained by educational or occupational differences between married, cohabiting and single mothers; (c) whether or not disparities in newborn’s health outcomes by union status diverge by mother’s educational or occupational status; (d) to what extent the current economic crisis can potentially affect health outcomes of children born in different union status. Preliminary results reveal that mothers’ union status mattered to health outcomes of their first births and these differences are independent of socio-demographic characteristics of mothers.

Palabras clave: cohabitation; maternal education; birth outcomes; economic crisis.