Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study and the Current Population Survey, we find that labor market conditions play a large role in explaining the positive relationship between educational attainment and marriage. Our results suggest that if low-educated parents enjoyed the same, stronger labor market conditions as their more-educated counterparts, then differences in marriage by education would narrow considerably. Better labor markets are positively related to marriage for fathers at all educational levels. In contrast, better labor markets are positively related to marriage for less-educated mothers but not their more-educated counterparts. We discuss the implications of our findings for theories about women's earning power and marriage, the current economic recession and future studies of differences in family structure across education groups.


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pp. 41-63
Launched on MUSE
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