Opting Out of Coresidential Unions? Factors Predicting Singlehood in the Fourth Decade

Xing Zhang , University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sharon Sassler, Cornell University

Demographers project an increase in the proportion of adults in the United States who never marry. Many young adults believe that marriage has become obsolete, but cohabitation has not yet become a marriage alternative, at least in the United States. We explore factors associated with being unmarried into one’s thirties (Wave V). We create a measure of the propensity to believe one will be unmarried by age 25 and include this in analysis of who remains never married at Wave V, which allows us to disentangle the impact of structural factors on the likelihood of marriage. We use data from Waves I-V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. At Wave V, 29% of respondents were never married. Accounting for negative views regarding marriage in adolescence provides additional information on non-marriage later in life, narrowing the racial gap in non-marriage among adults in the early 21st century.

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 Presented in Session 154. Family Complexity and Diversity