Volume 15 - Article 20 | Pages 537-560

Trends in Marital Dissolution by Women's Education in the United States

By Steven P. Martin

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Date received:11 Apr 2006
Date published:13 Dec 2006
Word count:5394
Keywords:education, family demography, marital dissolution, social inequality


I use the Survey of Income and Program Participation (N = 16,452) to measure trends in marital dissolution rates for U.S. women by education level. In marriage cohorts from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, marital dissolution rates fell among women with a 4-year college degree or more, but remained high among women with less than a 4-year college degree. This diverging trend began in the mid-1970s and is not explained by recent increases in women's overall educational attainment, nor by recent increases in age at marriage timing and premarital childbearing. These results suggest a growing association between socioeconomic disadvantage and family instability.

Author's Affiliation

Steven P. Martin - University of Maryland, United States of America [Email]

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