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The Living Arrangements of New Unmarried Mothers

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  • Wendy Sigle-Rushton
  • Sara McLanahan

Abstract

We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to describe the living arrangements of new, unwed mothers and to examine the determinants of those living arrangements. Our analysis goes beyond previous studies in several ways. First, we examine a wide diversity of living arrangements for a homogenous sample of recent, unwed mothers. Second, our analysis of the determinants of single mothers? living arrangements includes information on fathers? as well as mothers? characteristics. We also have data on the quality of the parents? relationship. Previous studies have lacked information on the characteristics of non-resident fathers and couple relationships, both of which are likely to affect decisions about living arrangements. We find that the characteristics of both partners have significant and, sometimes different, effects on the living arrangements of single mothers. In addition, women who reported being in a high quality, supportive relationship were much more likely to cohabit. These findings highlight the importance of looking beyond strictly human capital explanations of marriage, cohabitation, and living arrangements. Emotional capital may be equally, if not more important, than human capital to the development of successful relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Sara McLanahan, 2002. "The Living Arrangements of New Unmarried Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 262, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:262
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nancy Landale & Renata Forste, 1991. "Patterns of Entry into Cohabitation and Marriage Among Mainland Puerto Rican Women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 28(4), pages 587-607, November.
    2. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Hillard & Linda Waite, "undated". "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Non-Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 97-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    3. Larry Bumpass & R. Raley, 1995. "Redefining single-parent families: Cohabitation and changing family reality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 97-109, February.
    4. Pamela Smock & Wendy Manning, 1997. "Cohabiting partners’ economic circumstances and marriage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(3), pages 331-341, August.
    5. Rebecca A London, 2000. "The interaction between single mothers' living arrangements and welfare participation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 93-117.
    6. Winkler, Anne E., 1992. "The impact of housing costs on the living arrangements of single mothers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 388-403, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marah Curtis & Jane Waldfogel, 2009. "Fertility Timing of Unmarried and Married Mothers: Evidence on Variation Across U.S. Cities from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(5), pages 569-588, October.
    2. Viviana Salinas, 2011. "Socioeconomic Differences According to Family Arrangements in Chile," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(5), pages 677-699, October.
    3. Zhang, Saijun & Anderson, Steven G., 2010. "Low-income single mothers' community violence exposure and aggressive parenting practices," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 889-895, June.
    4. Sharon Bzostek & Audrey Beck, 2008. "Family Structure And Child Health Outcomes In Fragile Families," Working Papers 1081, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    5. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:146-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sharon Sassler & Soma Roy & Elizabeth Stasny, 2014. "Men’s economic status and marital transitions of fragile families," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(3), pages 71-110, January.
    7. Chan, Kwok Ho & Fung, Ka Wai Terence, 2013. "The Effect of Social Fathers on the Cognitive Skills of Out-of-Wedlock Children," MPRA Paper 52875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. James Raymo & Yanfei Zhou, 2012. "Living Arrangements and the Well-Being of Single Mothers in Japan," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 31(5), pages 727-749, October.
    9. repec:pri:crcwel:wp08-11-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bzostek, Sharon H. & Beck, Audrey N., 2011. "Familial instability and young children's physical health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 282-292, July.
    11. Alessandra Gribaldo & Maya D. Judd & David I. Kertzer, 2009. "An Imperfect Contraceptive Society: Fertility and Contraception in Italy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(3), pages 551-584.

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