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Ethnoracial Differences in Early Union Experiences Among Young Adult Women


  • Fenaba Addo



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. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Fenaba Addo, 2012. "Ethnoracial Differences in Early Union Experiences Among Young Adult Women," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 427-444, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:blkpoe:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:427-444
    DOI: 10.1007/s12114-012-9138-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Larry Bumpass & James Sweet, 1989. "National Estimates of Cohabitation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(4), pages 615-625, November.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fenaba Addo, 2014. "Debt, Cohabitation, and Marriage in Young Adulthood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1677-1701, October.
    2. Fenaba R. Addo, 2017. "Financial Integration and Relationship Transitions of Young Adult Cohabiters," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 84-99, March.


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