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The Independence of Young Adults and the Rise of Interracial and Same-Sex Unions

Michael J. Rosenfeld and Byung-Soo Kim
American Sociological Review
Vol. 70, No. 4 (Aug., 2005), pp. 541-562
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4145376
Page Count: 22
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The Independence of Young Adults and the Rise of Interracial and Same-Sex Unions
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Abstract

Interracial unions and same-sex unions were rare and secretive in the past because U.S. society was organized to suppress such unions. The rise of same-sex and interracial unions in the past few decades suggests changes in the basic structure of U.S. society. Young adults have been marrying later, and single young adults are much less likely to live with their parents. The independence of young adults has reduced parental control over their children's choice of mate. Using microdata from the U.S. Census, this article shows that interracial couples and same-sex couples are more geographically mobile and more urban than same-race married couples. The authors view the geographic mobility of young couples as a proxy for their independence from communities of origin. The results show that nontraditional couples are more geographically mobile even after individual and community attributes are taken into account. Same-sex couples are more likely to be interracial than heterosexual couples, indicating that same-sex and interracial couples are part of a common fabric of family diversification. The article discusses related historical examples and trends.

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