An extensive literature on the relationship between family structure and children's outcomes consistently shows that living with a single parent is associated with negative outcomes. Few US studies, however, examine how a child's family structure affects outcomes for the child once he/she reaches adulthood. We directly examine, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, whether family structure during childhood is related to the child's economic wellbeing both during childhood as well as during adulthood. We find that living with a single parent is associated with the level of family resources available during childhood. This finding persists even when we remove time invariant factors within families. We also show that family structure is related to the child's education, marital status, and adult family income. Once we control for the child's demography and economic wellbeing in childhood, however, the associations into adulthood become trivial in size and statistically insignificant, suggesting that the relationship between family structure and children's long-term, economic outcomes is due in large part to the relationship between family structure and economic wellbeing in childhood.
- Economic wellbeing
- Family structure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science