Relationship formation and stability in emerging adulthood: Do sex ratios matter?

Tara D. Warner, Wendy D. Manning, Peggy C. Giordano, Monica A. Longmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research links sex ratios with the likelihood of marriage and divorce. However, whether sex ratios similarly influence precursors to marriage (transitions in and out of dating or cohabiting relationships) is unknown. Utilizing data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study and the 2000 U.S. Census, this study assesses whether sex ratios influence the formation and stability of emerging adults' romantic relationships. Findings show that relationship formation is unaffected by partner availability, yet the presence of partners increases women's odds of cohabiting, decreases men's odds of cohabiting, and increases number of dating partners and cheating among men. It appears that sex ratios influence not only transitions in and out of marriage, but also the process through which individuals search for and evaluate partners prior to marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-295
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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