Research Note: New Patterns of Union Formation and Fertility among Young Adults

Karen B. Guzzo, University of Pennsylvania

This paper provides updated union and fertility information among young adults comparing older and more recent datasets. Overall, union formation has increased somewhat over the past 15 years, young adults aged 19-25 are increasingly cohabiting rather than marrying as a first union. More young adults are cohabiting, but fewer cohabitations are transitioning to marriage, and twice as many have cohabited with more than one partner. When they do marry, more young adults have already cohabited, though the proportion who had cohabited only with their spouse has declined. Fewer young adults are having children, but the proportion of nonmarital births has increased slightly. However, cohabiting births account for a decreasing proportion of nonmarital births, and a smaller percentage of cohabitors are having births. More marriages are preceded by a nonmarital and/or cohabiting birth, but a lower percentage of those with a nonmarital or cohabiting birth eventually marry.

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