Racial Differences in Transitions to Marriage for Unmarried Mothers
Daniels, G.E., Kakar, V. & Chaudhuri, A. J Fam Econ Iss (2017), DOI: org/10.1007/s10834-017-9538-3
36 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2016 Last revised: 18 Feb 2019
Date Written: November 30, 2016
Unlike prior studies that have explained racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women, our study uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women following a non-marital birth. We find that Black mothers are 60-65% more likely to delay marriage after a non-marital birth compared to White mothers and these racial gaps are only partially explained by economic, demographic and attitudinal factors. Our paper further contributes to this literature by examining changes in cohabitation patterns, educational attainment, poverty status and attitudes of gender distrust that are able to partially explain and reduce these racial gaps in transitions to marriage. With the general decline in marriage and rise in cohabitation, our paper tries to assess whether cohabitation is a leading factor for marriage or a substitute for marriage for unmarried mothers. Racial disparities have important implications for child wellbeing and intergenerational transmission of inequalities.
Keywords: Fragile Families, Marriage, Race, Cohabitation, Education, Hazard Models, Attitudes towards Marriage
JEL Classification: J12, J15, J16, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation