The Intergenerational Transmission of Cohabitation and Marriage in the U.S.: The Role of Parental Union Histories

Pamela J. Smock, University of Michigan
Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University
Cassandra J. Dorius, University of Michigan

Over two decades ago, in his presidential address to the Population Association of America, demographer Larry Bumpass posed the question: “What’s Happening to the Family?” The issues he raised in that address motivate this paper. Most broadly, we are interested in tracing processes that may continue to fuel family change. Specifically, this paper investigates the intergenerational transmission of cohabitation and marriage, focusing on parents and their young adult children. This paper extends knowledge about linkages between parents’ cohabitation and marital histories and children’s own union formation behavior. We use data from 23 waves (1979-2008) of the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79) main youth and 2 waves (2008 and 2010) of the young adult (YA) survey.

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Presented in Session 167: Family Instability