Churches are bulwarks of marriage in urban America. Analyses of data from the Fragile Familiesand Child Wellbeing Study indicate that urban parents who attend church frequently are significantlymore likely to marry before the arrival of children or to marry in the wake of a nonmaritalpregnancy, and they are more likely to experience higher levels of relationship quality. The churchattendance of fathers is a particularly powerful predictor of marital behavior and relationshipquality. Religious attendance appears to foster behavior among urban fathers that makes them moreattractive mates and better partners. African American parents in urban America are as likely tobenefit from churchgoing as are whites. Indeed, the racial gap in marriage rates in urban Americatoday would be even larger were it not for comparatively high levels of African American religiosity.Finally, religious attendance is associated with higher reports of relationship satisfaction for bothmarried and unmarried parents in urban America. This brief is the first published research on thelink between religiosity and relationship quality among unmarried couples in fragile families. (Author abstract)
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