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The Young Adult Years: Diversity, Structural Change, and Fertility


Rindfuss, Ronald R. (1991). The Young Adult Years: Diversity, Structural Change, and Fertility. Demography, 28(4), 493-512.


Depending on your perspective, demographers either have become quite aggressive in enlarging the territory considered to be part of population studies or have become more realistic in recognizing the complexity of human behavior. No matter how you wish to cast it, numerous examples can be found in the topics examined by hard-core demographers at the 1991 meetings of the Population Association of America: caregiving, the sharing of tasks within the household, conjugal harmony, wage inequality, child rearing, inheritance, the empty nest, retirement, political gerrymandering, and sexual behavior. These would have been inconceivable population topics for an earlier generation of demographers. At one point, demographers concentrated on events or transitions, such as births, deaths, migrations, or marriages. These are the basic building blocks of population growth and distribution. Only rarely, and then briefly, did they foray into the roles or activities on either side of these events.' Roles such as parent, spouse, worker, or student sometimes might be referenced in theoretical explanations, but with the exception of labor force participation, such roles tended not to be included in empirical, demographic work. In this paper I move back and forth between events and roles.


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Rindfuss, Ronald R.