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Until recently, one key way in which family formation in the U.S. has been distinctive among college-educated young adults is their tendency to wait until after marriage to have a first birth. Even as nonmarital first childbearing became common among less-educated adults, levels among the college-educated remained very low. These levels now appear to be rising, according to data from three national surveys. The data suggest a change in the role of marriage in family formation among the college-educated population, although not necessarily a decline.

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Why is it important?

The article suggests that the place of marriage in the sequence of life events that compose emerging adulthood may be shifting among college graduates: for a growing share marriage may occur after a first birth rather than before.

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This page is a summary of: Rising nonmarital first childbearing among college-educated women: Evidence from three national studies, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2109016118.
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