Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Well-Being

Research Report

Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Well-Being

A Dynamic Analysis of a Recent Cohort
July 1, 2002


This paper examines the dynamics of marriage and family patterns and their relationship to living standards of a recent cohort of mothers. It is not obvious that married mothers should perform economically better than mothers in cohabiting relationships or single mothers living with at least one other adult. But marriage is likely to raise living standards if it is associated with family and income stability. Using a variety of statistical techniques, the study finds that marriages, even shotgun marriages, significantly raise both the level and stability of living standards experienced by mothers and their children.

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