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Family Structure and Wellbeing of Out-of-Wedlock Children: The Significance of the Biological Parents' Relationship

Author

Listed:
  • Frank Heiland

    () (Department of Economics and Center of Demography and Population Health, Florida State University)

  • Shirley H. Liu

    () (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

Abstract

This study examines the effects of the relationship structure between biological parents on infant health and behavior using a sample of children born to unmarried parents in the United States. Using descriptive and multivariate analysis, we find that: (1) There is no difference in child wellbeing measured at age one between children whose biological parents marry within the first year after childbirth, and children whose biological parents remain in a cohabiting union; (2) The relationship structure of the biological parents matters most at childbirth with children born to cohabiting biological parents realizing better outcomes, on average, than those born to mothers who are less involved with the child’s father; and (3) Children born to cohabiting or visiting parents who end their relationship within the first year of the child’s life are up to 9 percent more likely to have asthma compared to children of continuously cohabiting, continuously visiting, cohabiting-at-birth or visiting at-birth and married-subsequently biological parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Heiland & Shirley H. Liu, 2005. "Family Structure and Wellbeing of Out-of-Wedlock Children: The Significance of the Biological Parents' Relationship," Working Papers 0612, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0612
    as

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    File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~sliu/Research_files/cohabitation_DR.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Deleire & Ariel Kalil, 2002. "Good things come in threes: Single-parent multigenerational family structure and adolescent adjustment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(2), pages 393-413, May.
    2. Björklund, Anders & Ginther, Donna K. & Sundström, Marianne, 2004. "Family Structure and Child Outcomes in the United States and Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 1259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Anne Winkler, 1997. "Economic decision-making by cohabitors: findings regarding income pooling," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(8), pages 1079-1090.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2012. "Should We Get Married? The Effect Of Parents' Marriage On Out‐Of‐Wedlock Children," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 17-38, January.
    2. repec:spr:eurpop:v:33:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9420-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jessica Su & Rachel Dunifon & Sharon Sassler, 2015. "Better for Baby? The Retreat From Mid-Pregnancy Marriage and Implications for Parenting and Child Well-being," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1167-1194, August.
    4. Frans Poppel & Niels Schenk & Ruben Gaalen, 2013. "Demographic Transitions and Changes in the Living Arrangements of Children: The Netherlands 1850–2010," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), pages 243-260.
    5. Sar, Bibhuti K. & Antle, Becky F. & Bledsoe, Linda K. & Barbee, Anita P. & Van Zyl, Michiel A., 2010. "The importance of expanding home visitation services to include strengthening family relationships for the benefit of children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 198-205, February.
    6. Schmeer, Kammi, 2009. "Father absence due to migration and child illness in rural Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1281-1286.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Cohabitation; Infant Wellbeing; Fragile Families; Child Asthma;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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