Who Gets Married in Australia? The Economic and Social Determinants of a Transition into First Marriage 2001 - 2006

Belinda Hewitt, University of Queensland
Janeen Baxter, University of Queensland

Is marriage less relevant today than in previous generations, or less attainable? Cherlin’s argument that marriage has become the capstone, rather than the starting point, for the adult life course suggests that the conditions required for marriage have shifted markedly. What is less clear is whether this shift is primarily related to financial or normative factors. We used panel data from the first 6 waves of the Households, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (2001 – 2006) to run a mixed effect logit model examining the economic and social determinants of first marriage. Our baseline sample comprised 1,565 men and 1,391 women. We find financial stability is positively associated with transition into marriage for men and women, but there is indication that normative factors are more important for women. These results support the view that marriage is less attainable for some socio economic groups, but no less relevant.

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Presented in Poster Session 3