Characterizing cohort loss before birth
Answers to many central questions in the social sciences depend upon the assumption that cohort loss before birth is ignorable. Evidence from inferential population studies and small-scale cohort studies increasingly suggests otherwise. Up to 70% of human pregnancies terminate before birth; these losses appear to be non-random. In this research we consider the implications of prenatal cohort loss for a few key demographic questions, including the effects of early-life exposures on later-life health and the effects of child traits on parent outcomes. In so doing, we extend a long history of demographic research on cohort selection to the prenatal period. We conclude with a discussion of new, big data approaches to learn more about how prenatal exposures shape population traits.