Ethnoracial Differences in Early Union Experiences Among Young Adult Women
This paper uses data from the 1997 cohort of National Longitudinal Study of Youth to examine racial differences in the first coresidential union experiences of young adult women in early adulthood. Young adults increasingly choose to delay marriage and opt to live with a significant other during their early adulthood years. Results from early studies of racial differences in relationship formation reported that Blacks had a higher probability that their first coresidential relationship was a cohabiting one despite a lower overall probability of being in a cohabiting relationship. Little is known about whether and how these early relationship experiences changed in the ensuing years, and the underlying causes for the racial differences in young adult union formation behaviors remain poorly understood. I use multivariate analyzes and decomposition techniques on a recent cohort of young women, between the ages of 12 and 18 in 1997, to examine the role of family background characteristics, sexual history, and economic and educational measures on the probability of an early coresidential relationship. I conclude with a brief examination of the fertility patterns surrounding that first union and the state of the union by age 24. © 2012 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.
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