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Demography. 2008 Aug;45(3):555-71.

Mate availability and unmarried parent relationships.

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Department of Sociology, 3718 Locust Walk, 271 McNeil Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Theoretically, a shortage of males in a local marriage market may influence the formation, quality, and trajectory of unmarried parent relationships. To test these hypotheses, I combine city-level sex ratio data from the U.S. census with microdata on unmarried couples who recently had a child from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. A shortage of men in a marriage market is associated with lower relationship quality for unmarried parents. Male shortages are associated with lower rates of marriage following a nonmarital birth, in part because of the mediating influence of relationship quality. A shortage of men is not significantly related to the economic quality of male, nonmarital childbearing partners.

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