Timing to first union: a test of the visible minority hypothesis.




Lee, Esther Park

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Ideological shifts in Western society have transformed the process of entry into first unions including: a significant decline in legal marriage, later age marriage, and an increase in nonmarital cohabitation. Some literature has found that these trends have been further impacted by race as the decline in marriage rates has been significantly greater for racial minorities than for non-minorities. This study explores the divergence of marriage patterns on the basis of the visible minority hypothesis, which suggests that visible minority status itself, as a proxy for race will be significant in the first union process. The data were drawn from the 2006 General Social Survey (N= 19,983 men and women). The effects of visible minority status, socioeconomic factors, region, and other cultural markers are explored using Cox’s proportional hazard modeling. The findings suggest that standard economic models are insufficient in explaining differentials in the entry into the first union for visible minorities. That is, visible minority status has an independent effect on the entry into the first union.



first union, first marriage, first cohabitation, visible minorities