Married with Children? The Role of Student Loan Debt
29 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 23, 2019
Data from the 2008:2012 Baccalaureate and Beyond panel dataset, collected by the US Department of Education, were used to analyze the role of student loan debt in separate predictive models for marriage and fertility decisions in a representative sample of four-year college graduates from institutions across the country. Subjective analysis of marriage and fertility decisions indicated that students identified debt as a significant factor in delaying progression to these major life events. In the empirical analyses of marriage and child birth, instrumenting student loans using in-state tuition rates, student loans were a significant predictor of actual marriage decisions but not a significant predictor for the birth of a first child in the first four years after graduation. Further, for four-year college graduates, a $1,000 increase in cumulative undergraduate student loan balance was associated with a 1.3% decreased likelihood of marriage in the first four years after college.
Keywords: College Students, Student loan debt, Financial stress, Marriage and fertility
JEL Classification: I22, D1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation