Are Men Who Father Children With Young, Unmarried Women 'Marriageable'? : Implications for the Healthy Marriage Initiative.

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Lopoo, Leonard M.
Carlson, Marcia J.
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While a considerable amount of research has explored the nature and consequences of childbearing by unmarried young women, little is known about the men who father children with these women. This study uses new data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to describe the economic and social/behavioral capacities of men who have children with unwed, young mothers (ages 18 through 21), comparing them to men who have children with older and/or married women. Given that men and women tend to partner with those of a similar age, race/ethnicity, and education level, we examine whether these factors can account for differences in capacities across groups. We find that men who father children with unmarried, young women have decidedly worse characteristics compared to men who father children with women in any other marital status/age category. These findings suggest caution in promoting marriage among teenage mothers. (Author abstract)

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