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Wealth and the Marital Divide1

Marriage patterns differ dramatically in the United States by race and education. The author identifies a novel explanation for these marital divides, namely, the important role of personal wealth in marriage entry. Using event-history models and data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort, the author shows that wealth is an important predictor of first marriage and that differences in asset ownership by race and education help to explain a significant portion of the race and education gaps in first marriage. The article also tests possible explanations for why wealth plays an important role in first marriage entry.