The decline of the general fertility rate in the U.S. over the last decade obscures the heterogeneity of birth patterns by age group. Using NSFG data from 2006–2015, this study explores one potential explanation for these changing patterns—women’s partnership contexts surrounding birth events—across five-year age groups for women aged 15–44. If birth rates are changing over time, then ascertaining the partnership statuses of women who experience births will provide insight into how fertility relates to women's relationship statuses throughout their reproductive years. The description of several indicators of relationship context for women who have experienced a birth, including relationship type, duration, and order, will provide essential information about sexual partnerships; and the construction of a multi-state life table will yield probability estimates of transitioning between relationship states. Preliminary results display differential trends in fertility, sexual partnership, relationship status, and partnership transitions by five-year age groups.
Presented in Session 231. The Union Context of Childbearing