Who Benefit from College Education? Relationship Outcomes of Cohabitors in the United States

Janet Kuo, University of Texas at Austin

In the United States, college graduates are more likely to experience patterns of union formation that lead to stable family life. The goal of this proposed study is to extend the existing literature on educational differences in family formation by exploring how varied levels of college experience--with and without attainment of a college degree--interact with loads of college loan debts and labor market outcomes in shaping cohabitors’ union transition behavior—progression to marriage or separation. The preliminary results suggest that college enrollment experience can shape union transition behavior of cohabitors beyond degree attainment but the pattern varies by gender. Future analysis will further explore the role that student loan debts and labor market outcomes play in conditioning the association between college enrollment experience and union transitions of cohabitors.

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