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Stability of Men’s Interracial First Unions: A Test of Educational Differentials and Cohabitation History

Abstract

Using the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, this study examines how cohabitation and education affect marital dissolution for White, Black and Latino heterosexual males (N = 1,395) in their first same-race or interracial union. This research suggests that a history of cohabitation, plans of marriage and education may help explain the divergent divorce patterns of interracial and same-race unions. Life table analyses and hazard modeling reveal that cohabitation and education have independent effects on marital dissolution, but neither explains the difference between interracial and same-race unions. Measures traditionally associated with divorce attenuate this difference. Subsequent analyses by racial union pairing suggest that Black men with White women and Latino men with Black women have significantly high risks of divorce.

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Acknowledgements

An earlier draft of the paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Demographic Association in Durham, North Carolina on November 2, 2006. This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University (R24HD050959-01). The author would like to thank Alfred DeMaris, Krista K. Payne, Wendy D. Manning and two anonymous referees for comments made on an earlier draft.

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Jones, A. Stability of Men’s Interracial First Unions: A Test of Educational Differentials and Cohabitation History. J Fam Econ Iss 31, 241–256 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-010-9186-3

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Keywords

  • Cohabitation
  • Dissolution
  • Divorce
  • Education
  • Interracial