Unmarried Parents, Fragile Families: New Evidence from Oakland

Publication Year



Although welfare legislation and “responsible fatherhood” initiatives seek to promote marriage and strengthen two-parent families, policymakers have little representative data on why unmarried parents in low-income communities do or do not marry.  In Unmarried Parents, Fragile Families: New Evidence from Oakland, Maureen Waller investigates factors that support or impede unmarried parents’ efforts to form stable relationships.  The report analyzes the personal and economic challenges faced by these parents, identifies factors related to the dissolution of their relationships, and considers obstacles to relationship stability among couples that stay together.  Finally, the report tests whether these obstacles were related to the marriage expectations of parents nationwide.

Public Policy Institute of California
San Francisco