What is Important for a Successful Marriage? Attitudinal Differences by Race, Class, and Gender

Kristen Harknett, University of Pennsylvania
Arielle Kuperberg, University of Pennsylvania

We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to examine attitudes regarding what is important for a successful marriage. We focus on racial, educational, and gender differences in these attitudes among a sample of about 3500 unmarried parents. We compare attitudes about the importance of racial and religious homogamy, wife and husband’s steady employment, a good sex life and having the same friends as your spouse. We find that educational attainment is associated with an increased emphasis on homogamy and a decreased emphasis on steady employment. Blacks and Hispanics put more emphasis than Whites on husband and especially wife’s steady employment. Gender differences in attitudes are small compared with race and educational differences, but men place more emphasis than women on the importance of a good sex life for a successful marriage.

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Presented in Poster Session 7