, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 555–571

Mate availability and unmarried parent relationships

  • Kristen Harknett

DOI: 10.1353/dem.0.0012

Cite this article as:
Harknett, K. Demography (2008) 45: 555. doi:10.1353/dem.0.0012


Theoretically, a shortage of males in a local marriage market may influence the formation, quality,and trajectory of unmarried parent relationships. To test these hypotheses, I combine city-level sex ratio data from the U.S. census with microdata on unmarried couples who recently had a child from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. A shortage of men in a marriage market is associated with lower relationship quality for unmarried parents. Male shortages are associated with lower rates of marriage following a nonmarital birth, in part because of the mediating influence of relationship quality. A shortage of men is not significantly related to the economic quality of male, nonmarital childbearing partners.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen Harknett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyPhiladelphia