Latinas’ Transition to First Marriage: An Examination of Four Theoretical Perspectives


Department of Sociology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4020 (


National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and census data are used to examine the effect of both individual- and contextual-level determinants on Latinas’ transition to first marriage (n= 745). Hypotheses derived from 4 leading theories of marriage timing are evaluated. Discrete-time event-history models that control for clustering within Labor Market Areas suggest that foreign-born Latina and Anglo women have virtually identical marriage trajectories. Analyses further demonstrate that Latinas’ individual human capital, and residence in areas characterized by a relatively large supply of single foreign-born Latino men, are associated with higher probabilities of marriage, whereas women’s aggregate economic opportunities are correlated with the predicted postponement of first marriage.