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Household Headship Among Unmarried Mothers in Six Latin American Countries

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

This paper describes and explores the relationship of several life-course and development-related factors with household headship among unmarried women 15-49 years of age with a child under the age of 15 in six Latin American countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, and Peru. We argue that, in contrast to the apparent situation in the U.S., a majority of unmarried women in these countries live as subfamilies in someone else's household. Life-course factors were important determinants of household headship. Urban residence and migration status were also significant determinants. In contrast to speculations however, socioeconomic status, as indicated by educational attainment, was not related to headship, either bivariately or once life-course factors were controlled. We conclude that life-course and residence/migration factors need to be accounted for, even if an analyst's focus is mainly economic.


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