Volume 23 - Article 22 | Pages 615-654

The relationship context of nonmarital childbearing in the U.S.

By Jennifer Manlove, Suzanne Ryan, Elizabeth Wildsmith, Kerry Franzetta

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Date received:18 Dec 2008
Date published:17 Sep 2010
Word count:6762
Keywords:cohabitation, non-marital childbearing


Using Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort data, we update estimates of cohabiting nonmarital births, examine factors associated with relationship context at birth, and assess racial/ethnic differences. We find that 52% of nonmarital births occur within cohabitations – an increase of 33% since the early 1990s. Blacks have shown the greatest increase in cohabiting births over time. We also find that the fertility histories of men and women have opposite influences on nonmarital childbearing. Furthermore, for Whites, a partner of a different race/ethnicity is associated with a higher risk of a nonmarital birth; for Blacks and Hispanics, the opposite is true.

Author's Affiliation

Jennifer Manlove - Child Trends, United States of America [Email]
Suzanne Ryan - National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America [Email]
Elizabeth Wildsmith - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America [Email]
Kerry Franzetta - Chapin Hall Center for Children, United States of America [Email]

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