Abstract

This study examines the transition to first union among Puerto Rican women. I argue that understanding the behavior of mainland Puerto Ricans requires attention to family patterns in Puerto Rico and to the dynamics of migration between Puerto Rico and the United States. The study therefore is based on pooled data from comparable surveys undertaken in the two settings. These data allow for event history analyses that compare the union formation behavior of migrants with that of nonmigrants, and consider the role of migration in producing the observed union patterns. Multivariate models show that migrants are more likely than nonmigrants to form unions early and to enter informal unions. Additional analyses show that selective migration plays a role in producing this pattern. Overall the findings demonstrate the importance of using data from both origin and destination locales for understanding the behavior of migrant groups.

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