Relationship Context of Nonmarital Childbearing
Suzanne Ryan, Child Trends
Jennifer Manlove, Child Trends
Kerry Franzetta, Child Trends
Sarah Cottingham, Child Trends
Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, we address two research questions: 1) What factors are associated with women’s relationship status at the time of their child’s birth?; and 2) Do these factors differ by race/ethnicity? We examine how characteristics of women, their families, and their partners are associated with relationship status at birth, comparing respondents who were 1) married, 2) cohabiting, and 3) non-married non-cohabiting at the time of recent births. Results indicate odds of nonmarital childbearing are greater for younger, less educated, previously married, minority women who worked while pregnant, had disadvantaged family backgrounds, and had no previous children, and for women whose male partners are young, less educated, and of a different race than them. We found few racial/ethnic differences; although, having a partner of a different race is associated with lower odds of nonmarital childbearing for minorities, while the opposite is true for whites.