Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Berlin
Which constraints and privileges do members of empowered or disempowered groups face in combining work and family life courses? To address this timely and highly relevant question, we empirically analyze work and family life courses at the intersection of gender and race in the United States. We use longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY) to study parallel work-family trajectories of white and African American men and women combining an intersectional comparison with a quantitative life course perspective. Results from recent innovations in sequence analysis including Mantel coefficients and multichannel sequence analysis show distinct work-family patterns for the four groups. Overall the association between work and family life courses for white men is weakest. They can combine any type of family trajectories with all possible work careers. In contrast, for black men high prestige careers are only accessible if they are in stable relationships with maximum one child. For black women we find the strongest association between family lives and careers characterized by high occupational prestige almost never occur for them. For white women the highest prestige work-family life course pattern goes along with late parenthood and / or childlessness. We contribute to the literature by identifying complex population level regularities in intersectional inequalities in longitudinal work and family life courses. Uncovering complex population level regularities that are not immediately visible are an important precondition for assessing the causes and consequences of social inequality in work-family life courses.