Premarital Pregnancy and Spouse Pairing Patterns in Japan: Assessing How Novel Family Behaviors Fit into the Family Formation Process

Jim Raymo, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Miho Iwasawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan

We examine trends in age and educational intermarriage in an attempt to interpret how the rapid increase in premarital pregnancy fits in to the family formation process in Japan. Using data on over 30,000 marriages between 1947 and 1997, we estimate logistic regression models of spouse pairing. We first estimate the average 'effect' of premarital pregnancy on patterns of age and educational pairing. We then estimate cohort-interactive models to examine change in the relationship between premarital pregnancy and spouse pairing. Results show a clear increase in the likelihood of 'less desirable' pairings in marriages preceded by pregnancy. This change was particularly dramatic in the 1990s and most pronounced among relatively early marriages and women with higher levels of education. Premarital pregnancy does not appear to be an increasingly conventional path to family formation. Rather, it appears that the family formation process in Japan is becoming increasingly heterogeneous.

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Presented in Session 10: Intermarriage: Trends and Consequences I