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Forming a Family, Leaving School Early, and Earning a GED: A Racial and Cohort Comparison

Nan Marie Astone and Dawn M. Upchurch
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 56, No. 3 (Aug., 1994), pp. 759-771
DOI: 10.2307/352884
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352884
Page Count: 13
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Forming a Family, Leaving School Early, and Earning a GED: A Racial and Cohort Comparison
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Abstract

In this paper we evaluate whether family formation—getting married or bearing a child—has interfered with women's secondary school attainment in the United States during the mid-20th century. Examining a sample of 3,055 white and African American women, we find that women who formed a family while still enrolled in high school had an elevated risk of leaving without a degree. The odds that such early family formation will result in premature withdrawal from secondary school do not vary by cohort or by race at the individual level. Recent cohorts and African Americans are more likely to form a family while still in high school, making this effect more important for these groups than others. Early family formation did not inhibit women born since World War II from earning a GED.

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