Birds of a Feather Have Babies Together? Childhood Family Structure, Assortative Mating, and the Union Stability

Jason R. Thomas, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Research on the intergenerational transmission of divorce consistently shows that children of divorced parents are more likely themselves to experience a divorce. Some research also shows that couples are more likely to divorce when both of their parents divorced than if only one or neither spouse’s parents divorced. This tendency raises the question of whether the childhood family structure of unmarried couples who cohabit influences the stability of their relationships. Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study show that when both parents are from non-intact (versus intact) families, they are more likely to end their relationships than they are to stay together by the time their focal child is five (controlling for demographic and other factors). Additional analyses will examine whether employment and educational differences moderate the relationship between the childhood family structure of mothers and fathers and their subsequent union stability.

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Presented in Poster Session 7