The research reported in this article focuses on the role of cohabitation in premarital childbearing among U.S. women. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households and the New York Fertility, Employment and Migration Survey, we examine the influence of cohabitation on the likelihood of premarital pregnancy and the decision to marry between premarital conception and birth. Our analyses show marked racial and ethnic differences in the role of the cohabiting union in family building. Although cohabitation increases the rate of premarital pregnancy for all women, its effect is much greater among Puerto Ricans than among non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans. Cohabitation accelerates the transition to marriage among premaritally pregnant White women, but has no effect among Blacks and has a strong negative effect among Puerto Ricans. We interpret our findings in terms of long-standing family patterns and cultural traditions within each group.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)