Navigating the “New” Market: How Attitudes Towards Partner Characteristics Shape Union Formation
Trends in divorce and nonmarital childbearing suggest that the marriage market is increasingly filled with people who have been married and/or have children. This study examines the effect of personal attitudes on entrance into a union with a partner who has been previously married or has children. Using data from two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households, the authors find that men who hold more positive attitudes about marrying someone who already has children are more likely to enter a union with a single mother. Willingness to marry someone with children also has a positive impact on women’s entry into a union with a man who has children, though only if he has not been married before. Men who express greater acceptance about marriage to someone who has been married are more likely to enter a union with a previously married woman, though only if she is childless. There is no parallel effect for women.
Policy Analysis and Management
Previously Published As
Journal of Family Issues. 30: 719-737.