Factors Influencing Children’s Risk of Experiencing Maternal Cohabitation: Current Estimates and Trends

Kristin Burnett, Pennsylvania State University

During recent decades, cohabitation has increased dramatically. A large portion of these couples live with dependents, thus, more children are experiencing cohabiting parent households. Since maternal cohabitation is associated with many negative outcomes for children, it is important to understand which subgroups are most likely to experience maternal cohabitation to identify who is most at risk of experiencing these negative outcomes and who might benefit most from policy interventions. In this descriptive study, I will use recent longitudinal data (Children/Young Adults of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979) with prospective family structure histories to explore how children’s exposure to maternal cohabitation differs across various factors and how these patterns have changed across recent cohorts. The factors to be examined include race/ethnicity, gender, age (of mother and child), socioeconomic status (household income, poverty status, maternal educational attainment), region, urbanicity, religiosity (of mother) and maternal marital status at birth.

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Presented in Session 90: Global Changes in Marriage and Family