• Article

The Completion of Childbearing: Change and Variation in Timing

Using data on fertility histories from the 1980 Current Population Survey, this study investigates the timing of the completion of childbearing (as measured by the age of the mother at her final birth) of successive 20th-century cohorts of American women. By examining the entire distributions of age at final birth as well as summary measures, we found substantial cohort change in the timing of the last birth among both whites and blacks that was not evident from the summary measures of central tendency and dispersion. Among whites, the cohort differences were not simply due to differing completed family size and age at first birth. In addition, with these other factors controlled in a regression analysis, women who experienced marital disruption and remarriage by age 45 took longer to finish their reproduction, and more educated women took less time. Such effects were not statistically significant for blacks. For younger cohorts with incomplete reproduction, the likely age at final birth was projected


Koo, H., Suchindran, C. M., & Griffith, J. (1987). The Completion of Childbearing: Change and Variation in Timing. Journal of Marriage and Family, 49(2), 281-293.