Marriage and Cohabitation among Latino and African American Young Adults: Neighborhood Risk and Protective Factors

Jessica L. Lucero, Utah State University
Anna Santiago, Case Western Reserve University
Eun Lye Lee, Case Western Reserve University

Framed by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and informed by social disorganization theory, this study investigates the neighborhood contexts associated with marriage and cohabitation for Latino and African American young adults who resided in subsidized public housing for a substantial period of time during their childhood. This study utilizes data from the Denver Child Study, a large-scale, mixed-methods study of current and former residents of the Denver (CO) Housing Authority (DHA). Quasi-random assignment to neighborhoods offers a natural experiment for addressing selection bias in the measurement of neighborhood effects. After controlling for individual- and family-level characteristics, five indicators related to neighborhood ethnic composition, social status, physical context and safety proved statistically significant predictors of marriage/cohabitation in our logistic regression models. Results from this study are discussed in terms of their methodological/theoretical contributions to the literature in addition to their policy implications.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households