Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Jeremy Pais, Christin Munsch, Mary Fischer

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Existing research shows that poor economic conditions such as job loss, low wages, and financial insecurity increase nonmarital fertility. However, there are economically-depressed areas of the United States that have low levels of nonmarital fertility. Why are these areas unique, and what can they tell us about the significance of place in shaping fertility outcomes? Although much of the current research focuses on economic explanations, some attention has been given to other factors that play a role in influencing nonmarital fertility rates. These studies show that religion, migration, and education are also significant predictors of nonmartial fertility. This study builds off of economic explanations and considers whether these other factors help explain low nonmarital fertility rates in socioeconomically deprived counties. To examine this topic, this research combines data from various sources on 2,989 counties across the United States in conjunction with a multinomial logistic regression analysis. Overall, this study makes important contributions for researchers interested in the role of places in structuring demographic outcomes.

Major Advisor

Jeremy Pais