Union Transitions Following the Birth of a Child to Cohabiting Parents
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Despite a growing interest in the family trajectories of unmarried women, there has been limited research on union transitions among cohabiting parents. Using data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, we examined how family complexity (including relationship and fertility histories), as well as characteristics of the union and birth, were associated with transitions to marriage or to separation among 1,105 women who had a birth in a cohabiting relationship. Cohabiting parents had complex relationship and fertility histories, which were tied to union transitions. Having a previous nonmarital birth was associated with a lower relative risk of marriage and a greater risk of separation. In contrast, a prior marriage or marital birth was linked to union stability (getting married or remaining cohabiting). Characteristics of the union and birth were also important. Important racial/ethnic differences emerged in the analyses. Black parents had the most complex family histories and the lowest relative risk of transitioning to marriage. Stable cohabitations were more common among Hispanic mothers, and measures of family complexity were particularly important to their relative risk of marriage. White mothers who began cohabiting after conception were the most likely to marry, suggesting that “shot-gun cohabitations” serve as a stepping-stone to marriage.
- Amato, P. R., Meyers, C., & Emery, R. E. (2009). Changes in nonresident father–child contact from 1976 to 2002. Family Relations, 58(1), 41–53. CrossRef
- Argys, L., Peters, H. E., Cook, S., Garasky, S., Nepomnyaschy, L., & Sorensen, E. (2007). Measuring contact between children and nonresident fathers. In S. L. Hofferth & L. M. Casper (Eds.), Handbook of measurement issues in family research (pp. 375–398). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
- Bramlett, M. D., & Mosher, W. D. (2002). Cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the United States. National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Health Statistics, 23(22), 1–93.
- Brown, S. L. (2010). Marriage and child well-being: Research and policy perspectives. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1059–1077. CrossRef
- Carlson, M., McLanahan, S., & England, P. (2004). Union formation in fragile families. Demography, 41(2), 237–261. CrossRef
- Darroch, J. E., Landry, D. J., & Oslak, S. (1999). Age differences between sexual partners in the United States. Family Planning Perspectives, 31(4), 160–167. CrossRef
- Edin, K., & Kefalas, M. (2005). Promises i can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Edin, K., Kefalas, M., & Reed, J. (2004). A peek inside the black box: What marriage means for poor unmarried parents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(4), 1007–1014. CrossRef
- England, P., & Edin, K. (2007). Unmarried couples with children: Hoping for love and the white picket fence. In P. England & K. Edin (Eds.), Unmarried couples with children. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Finer, L. B., & Henshaw, S. K. (2006). Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 38(2), 90–96. CrossRef
- Gibson-Davis, C. M., Edin, K., & McLanahan, S. (2005). High hopes but even higher expectations: The retreat from marriage among low-income couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(5), 1301–1312. CrossRef
- Gipson, J., Koenig, M., & Hindin, M. (2008). The effects of unintended pregnancy on infant, child, and parental health: A review of the literature. Studies in Family Planning, 39(1), 18–38. CrossRef
- Goldscheider, F. K., & Sassler, S. (2006). Creating stepfamilies: Integrating children into the study of union formation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 275–291. CrossRef
- Groves, R. M., Benson, G., & Mosher, W. D. (2005). Plan and operation of cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth. Washington: National Center for Health Statistics.
- Guzman, L., Manlove, J., Franzetta, K., & Schelar, E. (2008). Father’s childbearing intentions: Comparing mother-proxy and father self-reports. Paper presented at the 2008 Population Association of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans.
- Hohmann-Marriott, B., & Amato, P. (2008). Relationship quality in interethnic marriages and cohabitations. Social Forces, 87(2), 825–855. CrossRef
- Kalmijn, M., Loeve, A., & Manting, D. (2007). Income dynamics in couples and the dissolution of marriage and cohabitation. Demography, 44(1), 159–179. CrossRef
- Kennedy, S., & Bumpass, L. (2008). Cohabitation and children’s living arrangements: New estimates from the United States. Demographic Research, 19(47), 1663–1692. CrossRef
- Landale, N., & Fennelly, K. (1992). Informal unions among mainland Puerto Ricans: Cohabitation or an alternative to legal marriage? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54(2), 269–280. CrossRef
- Landale, N. S., & Oropesa, R. S. (2007). Hispanic families: Stability and change. Annual Review of Sociology, 33, 381–405. CrossRef
- Lichter, D. T., Qian, Z., & Mellott, L. M. (2006). Marriage or dissolution?: Union transitions among poor cohabiting women. Demography, 43(2), 223–240. CrossRef
- Logan, C., Holcombe, E., Manlove, J., & Ryan, S. (2007). The consequences of unintended childbearing: a white paper. Washington: Child Trends and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
- Manlove, J., Ryan, S., Wildsmith, E., & Franzetta, K. (2010). The relationship context of nonmarital childbearing in the U.S. Demographic Research, 23(22), 615–654.
- Manning, W. D. (2004). Children and the stability of cohabiting couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), 674–689. CrossRef
- Manning, W. D., Smock, P. J., & Majudmar, D. (2004). The relative stability of cohabiting and marital unions for children. Population Research and Policy Review, 23(2), 135–159. CrossRef
- Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., Osterman, M. J. K., Kirmeyer, S., Mathews, T. J., et al. (2011). Births: Final data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Reports 60(1). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
- Mcclain, L. R. (2011). Better parents, more stable partners: Union transitions among cohabiting parents. Journal of Marriage & Family, 73(5), 889–901. CrossRef
- McLanahan, S. (2011). Family instability and complexity after a nonmarital birth: Outcomes for children in fragile families. In M. J. Carlson & P. England (Eds.), Social class and changing families in an unequal America. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Musick, K. (2007). Cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, and the marriage process. Demographic Research, 16(9), 249–286. CrossRef
- Ooms, T., & Wilson, P. (2004). The challenges of offering relationship and marriage education to low-income populations. Family Relations, 53, 440–447. CrossRef
- Osborne, C. (2005). Marriage following the birth of a child among cohabiting and visiting parents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(1), 14–26. CrossRef
- Osborne, C., Manning, W. D., & Smock, P. (2007). Married and cohabiting parents’ relationship stability: A focus on race and ethnicity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69(5), 1345–1366. CrossRef
- Reed, J. (2006). Not crossing the “extra line”: How cohabitors with children view their unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(5), 1117–1131. CrossRef
- Reed, J. (2007). Anatomy of the break-up: how and why do unmarried couples with children break-up? In P. England & K. Edin (Eds.), Unmarried couples with children. New York City: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Reichman, N., Corman, H., & Noonan, K. (2004). Effects of child health on parents’ relationship status. Demography, 41(3), 569–584. CrossRef
- Santelli, J. S., Rochat, R., Hatfield-Timajchy, K., Gilbert, B., Curtis, K., Cabral, R., et al. (2003). The measurement and meaning of unintended pregnancy. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 35(2), 94–101. CrossRef
- Schoen, R., & Weinick, R. M. (1993). Partner choice in marriages and cohabitations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 55, 408–414. CrossRef
- Scott, M. E., Steward, N. R., & Schelar, E. (2010). Couple-level pregnancy intentions and subsequent relationship formation and dissolution. Paper presented at the 2010 Population Association of American Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
- Shoen, R. (2003). Union disruption in the United States. Demography, 32(4), 36–50.
- Smock, P. (2000). Cohabitation in the United States: An appraisal of research themes, findings, and implications. Annual Review of Sociology, 26(1), 1–20. CrossRef
- Smock, P. J., Casper, L. M., & Wyse, J. (2008). Nonmarital cohabitation: Current knowledge and future directions for research: Population Studies Center Research Report 08-648.
- Smock, P. J., & Greenland, F. R. (2010). Diversity in pathways to parenthood: Patterns, implications, and emerging research directions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 576–593. CrossRef
- Steele, F., Kallis, C., Goldstein, H., & Joshi, H. (2005). The relationship between childbearing and transitions from marriage and cohabitation in Britain. Demography, 42(4), 647–673. CrossRef
- Upchurch, D. M., Lillard, L. A., & Panis, C. W. A. (2001). The impact of nonmarital childbearing on subsequent marital formation and dissolution. In L. L. Wu & B. Wolfe (Eds.), Out of wedlock: Causes and consequences of nonmarital fertility (pp. 344–380). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Vega, W. A. (1990). Hispanic families in the 1980s: A decade of research. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52(4), 1015–1024. CrossRef
- Waller, M., & McLanahan, S. (2005). “His” and “Her” marriage expectations: Determinants and consequences. Journal of Marriage & Family, 67, 53–67. CrossRef
- Wildsmith, E., & Raley, R. K. (2006). Race-ethnic differences in nonmarital fertility: A focus on Mexican American women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 491–508. CrossRef
- Wu, Z., & Hart, R. (2003). Union disruption in Canada. International Journal of Sociology, 32(4), 51–75.
- Wu, L. L., & Musick, K. (2008). Stability of marital and cohabiting unions following a first birth. Population Research and Policy Review, 27(6), 713–727. CrossRef
- Union Transitions Following the Birth of a Child to Cohabiting Parents
Population Research and Policy Review
Volume 31, Issue 3 , pp 361-386
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Union Transitions
- Relationship History
- Cohabiting Birth
- Industry Sectors