Sexual minorities, social context, and union formation


Prince, Barbara F.; Joyner, Kara; & Manning, Wendy D. (2017). Sexual minorities, social context, and union formation. Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America. Chicago, IL.


The context in which Americans form coresidential unions has been fundamentally transformed in the past two decades. The current study examines the effect of social context on union formation, with a particular focus on sexual minorities. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we examine how sexual orientation is associated with timing of same-sex versus different-sex coresidential union formation and how various indicators of social context are associated with union formation. These data include two unique indicators that capture supportive environments for sexual minorities (proportion of same-sex headed households and percentage voting Republican). Overall, we find a clear pattern of forming same-sex unions according to sexual orientation. We also find that context matters. Sexual minorities in more supportive contexts have higher odds of forming a same-sex union. Our findings underscore the importance of considering context when examining sexual minority outcomes and, more broadly, union formation.

Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America


Prince, Barbara F.
Joyner, Kara
Manning, Wendy D.

Year Published


City of Publication

Chicago, IL

Reference ID