Does Immigration Status Influence Relationship Formation among Fragile Families?

Cassandra J. Dorius, Pennsylvania State University

Descriptive analyses, multinomial regression, and HLM models were used to test whether immigrant status and country of origin matter when predicting family formation outcomes for women participating in the Fragile Families Project. The findings were robust across techniques and suggest that first generation immigrants are more likely to be in marital relationships when compared with second and third generation immigrants, who had similar outcomes with one another. Country of origin was a strong predictor of relationship status, with almost every country/region predicting higher likelihoods of marriage and lower likelihoods of all other relationship outcomes than the United States. These results can be understood by applying an assimilation theory framework, which suggests that first generation women form relationships that reflect norms in their country of origin, while second and third generation women have similar non-marital outcomes due to downward assimilation which promotes the de-coupling of marriage and childbirth.

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Presented in Poster Session 5