In the 1950s and 1960s there was an unprecedented marriage boom in the United States. This was followed in the 1970s by a marriage bust. Some argue that both phenomena are cohort effects, while others argue that they are period effects. The study reported here tested the major period and cohort theories of the marriage boom and bust, by estimating an age–period–cohort model of first marriage for the years 1925–79 using census microdata. The results of the analysis indicate that the marriage boom was mostly a period effect, although there were also cohort influences. More specifically, the hypothesis that the marriage boom was mostly a response to rising wages is shown to be consistent with the data. However, much of the marriage bust can be accounted for by unidentified cohort influences, at least until 1980.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 Population Investigation Committee.
- United States
- age–period–cohort model
- marriage boom
- marriage bust
- real wages
- relative cohort size