Abstract

Data from the 1980 June Current Population Survey are used to estimate the incidence and duration of marital disruption as experienced by children. Rates during the 1977–1979 period suggest that about twofifths of children born to married mothers will experience the disruption of that marriage while they are children. When children born before their mothers’ first marriage are included, half of recent cohorts are likely to spend some time in a single parent family. These rates increased consistently over the 1970s. For the majority of those who experience a marital disruption, over five years are likely to elapse before the mother remarries. Furthermore, about half of the children who go through a divorce and remarriage will experience the breakup of the new family as well. At the same time, the interval between separation and divorce is less than a year for most children involved. There are major differences in these rates by race and important differences as well by education and age of mother. Replication of our earlier estimates for comparable periods was quite good for the estimates of the experience of marital dissolution, but somewhat less so for the analysis of mother’s subsequent remarriage.

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