Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Wealth and the Propensity to Marry
Authors: Schneider, Daniel
Advisors: McLanahan, Sara
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Family
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: American marriage has changed in important ways over the latter half of the twentieth century and in the first decades of the twenty first century. Marriage is increasingly delayed and even forgone with those changes particularly pronounced for African Americans and those with relatively less education. These changes are intertwined with increases in non-marital cohabitation and fertility. In concert, these demographic shifts have important implications for inequality as those who are already disadvantaged increasingly marry later and less, leading to less exposure to the benefits that marriage appears to confer on both children and adults. Scholars of the family have long focused on how education, employment, and earnings affect individuals' likelihoods of marriage. However, recent qualitative and ethnographic research suggests that to adequately understand current patterns of marriage entry, scholars must look beyond these characteristics to consider the role of wealth in union formation. This dissertation takes a comprehensive and multidimensional approach to examining the link between wealth and the transition to marriage. In the first empirical chapter, I use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1979 to model the relationship between the ownership of key personal assets and transition to first marriage. I find that ownership of a car and financial assets for men and a car and other assets for women is positively related to entry into first marriages and that accounting for gaps in wealth ownership by race and education explains a portion of the marital divides along those same axes of differentiation. The second empirical chapter draws on data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to model the relationship between wealth and marriage in the contemporary period for a sample of disadvantaged parents who were unmarried at the birth of their children. I find additional evidence of a link between asset ownership and marriage entry. However, I find little evidence that asset ownership is related to entry into cohabitation or that access to other economic resources can take the place of assets for marriage. In the final empirical chapter, I use a novel data source to assess how wealth losses during the Great Recession may have impacted plans to marry and find evidence that men and women who have lost wealth are more likely to plan to delay marriage.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Schneider_princeton_0181D_10325.pdf1.47 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.