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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Understanding Racial Differences in Marital Disruption: Recent Trends and Explanations

  • Author(s): Sweeney, Megan M
  • Phillips, Julie A
  • et al.

We use data from the Current Population Survey to investigate racial differences in recent patterns of marital disruption. Although a leveling in the trend of disruption has occurred for White women since 1980, our results suggest less stabilization in rates of disruption among Black women. We also observe significant differences by race in the effects of key compositional factors on the risk of marital disruption, including age at marriage, education, premarital childbearing, and region of residence. Differences in population composition with respect to these characteristics, however, cannot alone explain the overall racial gap in disruption.

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