Marrying Young: How Does it Affect an Individual's Income Trajectory?

Krista K Payne, Bowling Green State University

Despite increases in the age at first marriage and changes in characteristics of those who do marry in the United States over the past fifty years, marriage remains an important organizing institution within our society. The acquisition of a marital role can set the stage for an individual’s life and have profound effects upon individuals throughout their life course. Current scholarship on marriage reveals numerous benefits married individual’s experience, many of which are linked to economics. What this scholarship lacks is an understanding of how marriage timing can affect an individual’s income trajectory throughout the adult life course and how the trajectory may differ for men versus women. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 this paper investigates income trajectories of men and women from the late seventies through the early 21st century to understand the effect of marriage timing on personal income over time.

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Presented in Poster Session 7