Educational Attainment, Romantic Relationships, and Non-Marital Fertility

Kimberly A. Daniels, University of Texas at Austin

While two-fifths of births in the United States occur outside of marriage overall, nearly seventy percent of births to women with less than a high school education are non-marital compared to seven percent of those to college educated women (Mincieli, Manlove, McGarrett, Moore, and Ryan 2007). We focus on improving our understanding of this variation by examining the role of dating, cohabiting, and marital relationships in educational differences in non-marital fertility. Non-marital fertility may be influenced by differences in relationship formation or the effects of relationships that are formed due to fertility. For example, more highly educated women may delay forming relationships and/or the relationships they form may have a lesser influence on non-marital fertility compared those formed by women with less education. We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort and examine non-marital fertility for female respondents in the first three years after leaving school.

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Presented in Session 24: Aspects of the Transition to Parenthood