How Much Household Instability Do Children Experience While Growing Up?




Raley, R. Kelly
Weiss, Inbar
Reynolds, Robert
Cavanagh, Shannon E.

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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center



While most studies of children’s family changes and instability have focused on changes in mothers’ marital and cohabiting relationships, other adults and children entering or leaving households also contribute to changes in who children live with. PRC faculty research associates Kelly Raley and Shannon Cavanagh, PRC staff member Robert Reynolds, and PRC graduate student trainee Inbar Weiss use data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation to expand the description of children’s household composition and stability to include sibling and other household member transitions as well as residential instability. They find that children’s experience of household instability is much more frequent than previously documented, with black and Hispanic children experiencing more household instability than white and Asian children.

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