Singing a Different Tune: Attitudes toward Marriage at Older Ages

Jenna Mahay, University of Chicago
Alisa C. Lewin, University of Chicago

Understanding attitudes toward marriage at older ages is increasingly important as young adults delay marriage and large numbers of people return to the marriage market after divorce. This study examines age differences in the desire to marry among single people 18-69 years old, taking into account selection into marriage. Using multinomial regressions on data drawn from the General Social Survey (GSS), we find that single men and women age 55 - 69 have less desire to marry than younger single men and women. This age difference in single people's desire to marry is not explained by demographic characteristics, personal attributes, or marital history. The expected gain from marriage, as measured by education, increases the overall desire to marry, but it too does not account for the age difference in the desire to marry.

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Presented in Session 175: Attitudes toward Union Formation