The Family Structure Experiences of Children in Single Mother Families

Claire Kamp-Dush, Ohio State University

Using merged mother-child data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979, we examine the family structure experiences of children born to single (unmarried and not cohabiting) mothers up to age 10. Specifically, we examine the probability that such children remain with a single mother vs. entering one or more cohabiting or marital unions. For those children whose mothers do enter unions, we examine whether the union was marital vs. cohabiting, as well as distinguish between unions with children’s biological fathers vs. those with step-fathers. Finally, we consider the duration of such unions. We perform all analyses separately by race and ethnicity. In doing so, we take a child-based perspective, over a long period of time, to examine stability and change among children born to single mothers in the United States.

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Presented in Session 124: Family Instability