Vol. 64 No. 4 (2016)

Keeping Her Surname as a Middle Name at Marriage: What Predicts this Practice Among Married Women Who Take Their Husband’s Last Name?

Published 2016-10-01


Data from 60,223 clients of MissNowMrs.com were used to identify predictors of women retaining their premarital surname as a middle name when changing their last name to that of their husband after they were married. Among women who changed their last name to that of their husband, 18 % kept their former last name as a middle name. We identify four significant predictors of women keeping their surname as their middle name: education, marital age, race, and region of residence. As their education level increased, women were significantly more likely to keep their surname before marriage as a middle name. Marital age had a curvilinear relationship with this naming choice. African Americans were significantly less likely than whites to use their birth name as a middle name while other women of color were significantly more likely than whites to follow this practice. The birth surname as middle name pattern was most common in the South, suggesting a regional cultural influence.


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