Abstract

This analysis joins the debate on how declines in marriage have shifted the composition of the unmarried and married populations in the United States, and how compositional shifts have affected nonmarital birth rates. Gray, Stockard, and Stone (2006) presented one model for compositional effects that Ermisch (2009) challenged with alternative statistical tests. I propose an alternative model for compositional shifts based not on theory but on observed marriage and fertility patterns. The results from this alternative model are consistent with Ermisch’s findings yet support Gray et al.’s general case that compositional effects have had an important infiuence on nonmarital birth rates.

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