Marital Plans and Relationship Tempo Among Cohabitors: Differences by Gender and Social Class

Lauren Griffin , Cornell University
Emily Parker, Cornell University

In an era of changing relationship norms, plans for marriage are less clear-cut than engagements of the past. Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (2011-2015), this study leverages an intermediate category of “informal” marital plans among cohabitors to assess the timing and outcomes of cohabitation. Preliminary descriptive results show that men and women with plans for marriage experience slower transitions from first-sex to cohabitation than those with no plans at all. We find differences in the association between formal and informal plans and relationship tempo by gender and social class. Among engaged individuals there is a positive association between social class time to cohabitation, indicating that cohabitation and marital plans may serve different purposes for different social groups.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions