Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 July 2008
This paper considers how changes in women's socio-cultural characteristics have influenced recent patterns of differential fertility in the United States and whether the convergence of fertility differentials observed up to 1970 has continued. Analysis of data from the June 1980 United States Current Population Survey, suggests that there has been no change in differential fertility in recent years. Age at first birth, length of first birth interval, income and education were all negatively associated with fertility, among both older and younger women. When fertility expectations were examined, however, the association of the independent variables with expected completed fertility was weaker among younger women, indicating that there has been some convergence in expected completed fertility. Further narrowing of differentials in actual fertility depends on how successful the younger women are in preventing future unplanned births.