Unmarried Parenthood:Does it Matter?

Kathleen Kiernan, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Unmarried Parenthood: Does it Matter? There have been dramatic increases in the proportions of children born outside of marriage across western nations. Children born to unmarried parents may be born to cohabiting couples or to a mother not living in a co-residential partnership at the time of the birth. The evidence suggests that in Britain and the USA there have been increases in the proportions of children born to solo mothers. This comparative evidence is reviewed but the main focus is an examination of the determinants and consequences of the partnership context of first birth (within marriage, a cohabiting union, outside of a union) using data collected in the 1970 British Cohort Study. We have two main research questions. Do the men and women who become parents in these different contexts vary in their childhood and adolescent experiences and does the context matter for the subsequent life course of the parents and their children?

Presented in Session 149: Nonmarital Fertility