Our study investigates the transition to first marriage among cohabiting black and white men and women, drawing on data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Our results underscore the importance of economic factors on the transition to marriage for both black and white cohabitors. We also find that for black cohabitors, but not for whites, socioeconomic disadvantage during childhood reduces the odds of marriage. The presence of children in cohabiting unions tends to increase the chances of marrying a cohabiting partner for both blacks and whites. Our results demonstrate the importance of including cohabitation in research on the marriage process.

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