What Money Can Buy: The Relationship between Marriage and Home Ownership in the United States

Mary Elizabeth Hughes, Duke University

In the last several decades, the median age at marriage in the United States has risen dramatically. A leading explanation for this trend points to a series of economic transformations that has made attaining economic security more lengthy and more difficult for many and impossible for some. However, this account is incomplete because it does not take into account the role of changing material aspirations. I assess the relationship between material aspirations and the timing of marriage by focusing on the relationship between home ownership and marriage over the last thirty years. I organize my analysis around two questions. First, I examine the occurrence, timing and sequencing of marriage and home ownership. Second I examine the impact of housing costs on marriage and home ownership. I use data from the 1968-1997 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of American families

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Presented in Session 98: Union Formation