Opportunity, movement, and marriage: U.S. farm sons at the turn of the century

Nancy Susan Landale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The implications of historic changes in the American industrial structure for the marriage behavior of farm sons are examined using data from the 1880-1900 National Panel Study. The analysis focuses on migration and occupational placement as mechanisms through which the structure of local opportunities potentially affected family formation. The findings suggest that narrowing opportunities for farm ownership channeled the sons of U.S. farmers into farm labor and nonfarm occupations. These alternatives, in turn, reduced marriage chances during the early adult years. In contrast, inter-county migration between childhood and young adulthood increased the likelihood of marriage among the men in each occupation. Overall, the analysis demonstrates clear linkages between opportunity, occupations, migration, and nuptiality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-386
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1989


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this