Trends in Union Instability in the United States, 1980s-2010s

Steven Ruggles & Sheela Kennedy
We use data from the 1995, 2002, 2006-10, 2011-13 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to examine trends in cohabitation in the United States. By the 2000s, 45% of first unions dissolved within 5 years, a dramatic increased over previous decades. The percent of first marriages dissolving within 5 years remained unchanged about 20%, compared to just over half of cohabiting unions. Educational differences in marital dissolution increased through the 1990s, before...
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