Race/Ethnic Differences in the Role of Cohabitation

Elizabeth M. Wildsmith, University of Texas at Austin

We use a sample of mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to look at race/ethnic/nativity differences in the role of cohabitation. Similarities between U.S. born Mexican American and Black women may reflect a shared minority status in the U.S. while similarities between Mexican born and U.S. born Mexican American women may reflect a shared ethnic heritage purported to be more pro-nuptial and familistic. analyzes show that while the majority of births to Mexican American and Black women occur out-of-wedlock, Mexican American and Mexican born unmarried mothers are equally likely to be in a cohabiting union. Subsequent to the birth, Mexican born women in cohabiting unions are actually less likely to marry than those not in cohabiting unions. However, this is not true for Mexican American women, though they are less likely to marry than White or Black women in cohabiting unions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being