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Racial and Ethnic Differences in Marriage After the Birth of a Child.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Harknett, Kristen.
McLanahan, Sara S.
Journal Article
Page Count: 

This article uses new data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to examine the reasons why white, Mexican American, and other Hispanic parents are approximately 2.5 times more likely than African American parents to marry within the 30 months after a nonmarital birth. Combining Fragile Families microdata with 2000 U.S. Census data shows that marriage market conditions exert a large influence on marriage decisions, even among couples that already have formed a romantic relationship and had a child together. The findings also show that an undersupply of employed African American men can explain a large portion of the racial and ethnic differences in marriage after a nonmarital birth. The current findings support the theory that marriage markets are influential not only during the search for romantic partners but also in determining whether romantic relationships, once formed, will lead to marriage. (Author abstract)

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