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Marriage Patterns in the United States


  • David E. Bloom
  • Neil G. Bennett


This paper analyzes cohort marriage patterns in the United States in order to determine whether declining rates of first marriage are due to changes in the timing of marriage, the incidence of marriage, or both. Parametric models, which are well-suited to the analysis of censored or truncated data, are fit separately to information on age at first marriage derived from three data sets which were collected independently and at different points in time. Extended versions of the models are also estimated in which the parameters of the model distributions are allowed to depend on social and, economic variables.The results provide evidence that the incidence of first marriage is declining and that there is only a slight tendency for women to delay marriage. In addition, education is the most important correlate of decisions about the timing of first marriage whereas race is the most important correlate of decisions about its incidence.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Bloom & Neil G. Bennett, 1985. "Marriage Patterns in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1701 Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keeley, Michael C, 1979. "An Analysis of the Age Pattern of First Marriage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(2), pages 527-544, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yuet-Yee Wong, Linda & Yu, Qiqing, 2007. "A bivariate interval censorship model for partnership formation," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 370-383, February.

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