Proximate Sources of Change in Trajectories of First Marriage in the United States, 1960-2010.
ABSTRACT: This study examines proximate sources of change in first-marriage trajectories in the United States between 1960 and 2010. This was a period of tremendous social change: divorce became more common, people started marrying later or not marrying at all, innovations in medicine and changes in social and behavioral factors led to reduced mortality, inequality grew stronger and was reflected by more intense assortative mating, and the country underwent a massive educational expansion. Each of these factors influenced the formation and dissolution of first marriages over this period. This article extends the multiple-decrement life table to incorporate heterogeneity and assortative mating, which allows the quantification of how changes in the incidence of marriage, divorce, and mortality, along with changes in educational attainment and assortative mating, have shaped trends in first-marriage trajectories. The model is used to prove that stronger educational assortative mating leads to longer average durations of first marriage. Using data from multiple sources and this model, this study shows that although the incidence of divorce was the primary determinant of changes in first-marriage trajectories between 1960 and 1980, it has played a relatively smaller role in driving change in marital trajectories between 1980 and 2010. Instead, factors such as later age at first marriage, educational expansion, declining mortality, narrowing sex differences in mortality, and more intense educational assortative mating have been the major drivers of changes in first-marriage trajectories since 1980.
Project description:This paper adapts the population balancing equation to develop a framework for studying the proximate determinants of educational homogamy. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on a cohort of women born between 1957 and 1964, we decompose the odds of homogamy in prevailing marriages into four proximate determinants: (1) first marriages, (2) first and later marital dissolutions, (3) remarriages, and (4) educational attainment after marriage. The odds of homogamy among new first marriages are lower than among prevailing marriages, but not because of selective marital dissolution, remarriage, and educational attainment after marriage, as has been speculated. Prevailing marriages are more likely to be educationally homogamous than new first marriages because of the accumulation of homogamous first marriages in the stock of marriages. First marriages overwhelmingly account for the odds of homogamy in prevailing marriages in this cohort. Marital dissolutions, remarriages, and educational upgrades after marriage have relatively small and offsetting effects. Our results suggest that, despite the high prevalence of divorce, remarriage, and continued schooling after marriage in the United States, the key to understanding trends in educational homogamy lies primarily in variation in assortative mating into first marriage.
Project description:Estimate predictive associations of mental disorders with marriage and divorce in a cross-national sample.Population surveys of mental disorders included assessment of age at first marriage in 19 countries (n = 46,128) and age at first divorce in a subset of 12 countries (n = 30,729). Associations between mental disorders and subsequent marriage and divorce were estimated in discrete time survival models.Fourteen of 18 premarital mental disorders are associated with lower likelihood of ever marrying (odds ratios ranging from 0.6 to 0.9), but these associations vary across ages of marriage. Associations between premarital mental disorders and marriage are generally null for early marriage (age 17 or younger), but negative associations come to predominate at later ages. All 18 mental disorders are positively associated with divorce (odds ratios ranging from 1.2 to 1.8). Three disorders, specific phobia, major depression, and alcohol abuse, are associated with the largest population attributable risk proportions for both marriage and divorce.This evidence adds to research demonstrating adverse effects of mental disorders on life course altering events across a diverse range of socioeconomic and cultural settings. These effects should be included in considerations of public health investments in preventing and treating mental disorders.
Project description:Understanding the social and biological mechanisms that lead to homogamy (similar individuals marrying one another) has been a long-standing issue across many fields of scientific inquiry. Using a nationally representative sample of non-Hispanic white US adults from the Health and Retirement Study and information from 1.7 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms, we compare genetic similarity among married couples to noncoupled pairs in the population. We provide evidence for genetic assortative mating in this population but the strength of this association is substantially smaller than the strength of educational assortative mating in the same sample. Furthermore, genetic similarity explains at most 10% of the assortative mating by education levels. Results are replicated using comparable data from the Framingham Heart Study.
Project description:Assortative mating--marriage of a man and a woman with similar social characteristics--is a commonly observed phenomenon. In the existing literature in both sociology and economics, this phenomenon has mainly been attributed to individuals' conscious preferences for assortative mating. In this paper, we show that patterns of assortative mating may arise from another structural source even if individuals do not have assortative preferences or possess complementary attributes: dynamic processes of marriages in a closed system. For a given cohort of youth in a finite population, as the percentage of married persons increases, unmarried persons who newly enter marriage are systematically different from those who married earlier, giving rise to the phenomenon of assortative mating. We use microsimulation methods to illustrate this dynamic process, using first the conventional deterministic Gale-Shapley model, then a probabilistic Gale-Shapley model, and then two versions of the encounter mating model.
Project description:While men have always received more education than women in the past, this gender imbalance in education has turned around in large parts of the world. In many countries, women now excel men in terms of participation and success in higher education. This implies that, for the first time in history, there are more highly educated women than men reaching the reproductive ages and looking for a partner. We develop an agent-based computational model that explicates the mechanisms that may have linked the reversal of gender inequality in education with observed changes in educational assortative mating. Our model builds on the notion that individuals search for spouses in a marriage market and evaluate potential candidates based on preferences. Based on insights from earlier research, we assume that men and women prefer partners with similar educational attainment and high earnings prospects, that women tend to prefer men who are somewhat older than themselves, and that men prefer women who are in their mid-twenties. We also incorporate the insight that the educational system structures meeting opportunities on the marriage market. We assess the explanatory power of our model with systematic computational experiments, in which we simulate marriage market dynamics in 12 European countries among individuals born between 1921 and 2012. In these experiments, we make use of realistic agent populations in terms of educational attainment and earnings prospects and validate model outcomes with data from the European Social Survey. We demonstrate that the observed changes in educational assortative mating can be explained without any change in male or female preferences. We argue that our model provides a useful computational laboratory to explore and quantify the implications of scenarios for the future.
Project description:We examine cohort trends in premarital first births for U.S. women born between 1920 and 1964. The rise in premarital first births is often argued to be a consequence of the retreat from marriage, with later ages at first marriage resulting in more years of exposure to the risk of a premarital first birth. However, cohort trends in premarital first births may also reflect trends in premarital sexual activity, premarital conceptions, and how premarital conceptions are resolved. We decompose observed cohort trends in premarital first births into components reflecting cohort trends in (1) the age-specific risk of a premarital conception taken to term; (2) the age-specific risk of first marriages not preceded by such a conception, which will influence women's years of exposure to the risk of a premarital conception; and (3) whether a premarital conception is resolved by entering a first marriage before the resulting first birth (a "shotgun marriage"). For women born between 1920-1924 and 1945-1949, increases in premarital first births were primarily attributable to increases in premarital conceptions. For women born between 1945-1949 and 1960-1964, increases in premarital first births were primarily attributable to declines in responding to premarital conceptions by marrying before the birth. Trends in premarital first births were affected only modestly by the retreat from marriages not preceded by conceptions-a finding that holds for both whites and blacks. These results cast doubt on hypotheses concerning "marriageable" men and instead suggest that increases in premarital first births resulted initially from increases in premarital sex and then later from decreases in responding to a conception by marrying before a first birth.
Project description:BACKGROUND:DFNB1, the first locus to have been associated with deafness, has two major genes GJB2 & GJB6, whose mutations have played vital role in hearing impairment across many ethnicities in the world. In our present study we have focused on the role of these mutations in assortative mating hearing impaired families from south India. METHODS:One hundred and six assortatively mating hearing impaired (HI) families of south Indian origin comprising of two subsets: 60 deaf marrying deaf (DXD) families and 46 deaf marrying normal hearing (DXN) families were recruited for this study. In the 60 DXD families, 335 members comprising of 118 HI mates, 63 other HI members and 154 normal hearing members and in the 46 DXN families, 281 members comprising of 46 HI and their 43 normal hearing partners, 50 other HI members and 142 normal hearing family members, participated in the molecular study. One hundred and sixty five (165) healthy normal hearing volunteers were recruited as controls for this study. All the participating members were screened for variants in GJB2 and GJB6 genes and the outcome of gene mutations were compared in the subsequent generation in begetting deaf offspring. RESULTS:The DFNB1 allele frequencies for DXD mates and their offspring were 36.98 and 38.67%, respectively and for the DXN mates and their offspring were 22.84 and 24.38%, respectively. There was a 4.6% increase in the subsequent generation in the DXD families, while a 6.75% increase in the DXN families, which demonstrates the role of assortative mating along with consanguinity in the increase of DFNB1 mutations in consecutive generations. Four novel variants, p.E42D (in GJB2 gene), p.Q57R, p.E101Q, p.R104H (in GJB6 gene) were also identified in this study. CONCLUSION:This is the first study from an Indian subcontinent reporting novel variants in the coding region of GJB6 gene. This is perhaps the first study in the world to test real-time, the hypothesis proposed by Nance et al. in 2000 (intense phenotypic assortative mating mechanism can double the frequency of the commonest forms of recessive deafness [DFNB1]) in assortative mating HI parental generation and their offspring.
Project description:Objective:This article investigates marital sorting by household registration status (hukou) and education in contemporary urban China, paying special attention to individuals who have achieved rural-to-urban hukou mobility before marriage. Background:Existing theoretical frameworks of assortative mating have highlighted economic resources and cultural matching as two key dimensions. These two frameworks place different emphasis on individuals' achieved versus ascriptive characteristics, and hold different implications for understanding the link between marital sorting patterns and social openness/closure. With a focus on hukou converters, this study examines the relative importance of achieved versus ascriptive traits in China's marriage market and contributes to the evaluation of the two frameworks. Method:This study adopts a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative analysis uses the harmonic mean marriage function to analyze the nationally representative 2006 China General Social Survey. The qualitative data consist of 115 in-depth interviews collected in two Chinese metropolitan areas between 2016 and 2017. Results:Quantitative results showed that hukou converters and urban-born individuals both had the highest propensity of marrying a spouse of the same hukou trajectory. Qualitative results further revealed the gap between converters and their urban-born peers to be hierarchical. Although both groups emphasized the importance of shared values and habitus in evaluating prospective partners, urban-born individuals regarded hukou converters as a culturally distinct and less desirable option. Conclusion:The findings highlight the power of cultural matching in China's urban marriage market. Hukou converters' rural origin remains visible and acts as a source of lasting symbolic distinction despite adulthood status attainment.
Project description:Recent research has shown that men's wages rise more rapidly than expected prior to marriage, but interpretations diverge on whether this indicates selection or a causal effect of anticipating marriage. We seek to adjudicate this debate by bringing together literatures on (1) the male marriage wage premium; (2) selection into marriage based on men's economic circumstances; and (3) the transition to adulthood, during which both union formation and unusually rapid improvements in work outcomes often occur. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we evaluate these perspectives. We show that wage declines predate rather than follow divorce, indicating no evidence that staying married benefits men's wages. We find that older grooms experience no unusual wage patterns at marriage, suggesting that the observed marriage premium may simply reflect co-occurrence with the transition to adulthood for younger grooms. We show that men entering shotgun marriages experience similar premarital wage gains as other grooms, casting doubt on the claim that anticipation of marriage drives wage increases. We conclude that the observed wage patterns are most consistent with men marrying when their wages are already rising more rapidly than expected and divorcing when their wages are already falling, with no additional causal effect of marriage on wages.
Project description:Children whose parents divorce tend to have worse educational outcomes than children whose parents stay married. However, not all children respond identically to their parents divorcing. We focus on how the impact of parental divorce on children's education varies by how likely or unlikely divorce was for those parents. We find a significant negative effect of parental divorce on educational attainment, particularly college attendance and completion, among children whose parents were unlikely to divorce. Families expecting marital stability, unprepared for disruption, may experience considerable adjustment difficulties when divorce occurs, leading to negative outcomes for children. By contrast, we find no effect of parental divorce among children whose parents were likely to divorce. Children of high-risk marriages, who face many social disadvantages over childhood irrespective of parental marital status, may anticipate or otherwise accommodate to the dissolution of their parents' marriage. Our results suggest that family disruption does not uniformly disrupt children's attainment.