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Marriage Opportunities and Family Formation: Further Implications of Imbalanced Sex Ratios

Scott J. South and Kim M. Lloyd
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 54, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 440-451
DOI: 10.2307/353075
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353075
Page Count: 12
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Marriage Opportunities and Family Formation: Further Implications of Imbalanced Sex Ratios
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Abstract

Vital statistics data are merged with census data to examine the impact of women's marriage opportunities on family formation and dissolution. Measures of the quantity and quality of potential spouses specific for a woman's age, race, education, and area of residence are linked to rates of marriage, divorce, and nonmarital fertility. Greater marriage opportunities increase rates of marriage and divorce, and decrease illegitimacy ratios. Unemployment among prospective husbands reduces marriage and divorce rates, but increases illegitimacy. Racial differences in marriage opportunities account for a moderate proportion of the racial difference in female marriage.

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