• Article

The Timing of a First Birth and High School Completion

The relationship between the timing of a first birth and high school completion among women is examined using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Employing event-history techniques, we find that a first birth influences eventual high school graduation, but not in the way previous studies have suggested. Using a modified status attainment model incorporating a life-course perspective, we find that having a baby does not predict dropping out of high school. Women who have a baby while still enrolled in school and remain in school are just as likely to graduate as women who do not. Among high school dropouts, however, a birth reduces the chances of eventual graduation. Policy and theoretical considerations are discussed


Upchurch, DM., & McCarthy, J. (1990). The Timing of a First Birth and High School Completion. American Sociological Review, 55(2), 224-234.