Marriages and Family Formation Data Analysis Project, 2001-2003

Project Overview

This project examined a range of literature about the marriage and family formation decisions of low-income couples, including unmarried parents and those receiving public assistance, in order to document the relevant research questions that have been addressed or could be addressed using existing data, as well as those that are important, but unable to be answered because of data gaps or limitations and to summarize findings where available.

The researchers synthesized findings from existing research relevant to marriage and family formation questions and presented questions deemed important that could be addressed through further analysis of existing data. Further, they provided information on important gaps and limitations in the relevant data sets/sources and made suggestions for data that should be collected to address unanswered questions.

The major research questions addressed include: (1) What are the major research questions that have been addressed and what are the findings with regard to the patterns, determinants, and correlates of marriage and family formation decisions among low-income populations and among sub-populations such as unmarried parents? (2) To what extent does information from existing data sources (e.g., surveys, evaluation studies) provide the opportunity to address major questions about the patterns, determinants, and correlates of marriage and family formation decisions among low-income populations? (3) What key questions have not been addressed in the existing literature but could be addressed using existing data? (4) What are the limitations of the data and data sources? (5) What data are not currently available but are needed to address important questions about these issues?

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