Shattuck, Rachel M. (2015). Does it Matter if She’d Rather Marry The Role of Individual Preferences in Young Women’s Likelihood of a Nonmarital First Birth
Previous research shows that low-income single mothers interviewed after they have begun childbearing say they would prefer to marry but feel prevented from doing so by a lack of means. I prospectively test whether women who state a preference against nonmarital childbearing before having their first birth are more likely to have a marital first birth, or to postpone their first birth, either independently of or in conjunction with resources attained in adulthood. Resources are measured by postsecondary education, professional jobs, and dating partners with high educational attainment. I find that women’s preferences against having a nonmarital birth increase the likelihood that they will postpone childbearing, independently of resource attainment. However, women’s preferences against nonmarital childbearing increase their likelihood of having a marital first birth only in conjunction with higher levels of resources.
Maryland Population Research Center
Shattuck, Rachel M.