With This Name I Thee Wed: Women’s Marital Naming Choices

Gretchen E. Gooding, U.S. Census Bureau
Rose Kreider, U.S. Census Bureau

We explore women’s marital naming choices using the 2004 American Community Survey (ACS). This large data set allows a look at detailed educational attainment and age differences between spouses. Nine percent of married women and 6 percent of native-born married women had non-conventional surnames. “Non-conventional” surnames include hyphenated surnames, two surnames, and women who kept their own surname at marriage. Characteristics associated with non-conventional surname use include: younger age, higher educational attainment, being other than White non-Hispanic, living in the West or Northeast, a large age difference between spouses, management or professional occupation, wives’ income at least 80 percent that of husbands’, and being foreign born. Women with a master’s degree were 3 times more likely than those who had less than a bachelor’s to use a non-conventional surname, while women with a professional degree were 5 times more likely, and women with a doctorate were 10 times more likely.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3