Volume 37 - Article 1 | Pages 1–12 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Fertility change in the American Indian and Alaska Native population, 1980–2010

By Sarah Cannon, Christine Percheski

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Date received:18 Jan 2017
Date published:04 Jul 2017
Word count:2362
Keywords:Alaska Natives, American Indian, census, fertility, total fertility rate (TFR), United States
Additional files:readme.37-1 (text file, 1 kB)
 demographic-research.37-1 (zip file, 281 MB)


Background: Since 1990, Vital Statistics reports show a dramatic decline in the total fertility rates (TFRs) of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women in the United States.

Objective: We study whether the decrease in TFRs is due to a real change in fertility for a stable population; a compositional change in who identifies as AI/AN; or a methodological issue stemming from differences in identifying race across the data systems used to calculate fertility rates.

Methods: We use data from the decennial US Census to study change in AI/AN fertility from 1980–2010.

Results: We find declining TFRs when fertility is calculated within a single data system. Additionally, although TFRs are relatively stable within the subgroups of married and unmarried AI/AN women, the proportion of AI/AN women who are married has declined across birth cohorts.

Conclusions: The decrease in TFRs for AI/AN women is a real change in fertility patterns and is not due to differences in racial identification across data systems.

Contribution: We update knowledge of AI/AN fertility to include the decline in TFRs between 1980 and 2010.

Author's Affiliation

Sarah Cannon - Gibson Consulting Group, United States of America [Email]
Christine Percheski - Northwestern University, United States of America [Email]

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