Are Spouses More Satisfied than Cohabitors? An Exploration over the Last 20 Years in Italy

Elena Pirani, Università di Firenze
Daniele Vignoli, Università di Firenze

During last decades, cohabitation is becoming increasingly common everywhere in the social landscape of Europe. Whether these new forms of partnerships bring lower levels of satisfaction for partners remains largely unexplored, however. This research adds to the European literature on the link between partnership status and family satisfaction. We scrutinize the relationship for Italy, where the diffusion of cohabitations is still limited, analyzing 20 progressive large-scale datasets carried out continuatively since 1993 by Italian Institute of Statistics. Our findings show that, in the past, Italian cohabiters were less satisfied with their family life than married couples. As time passes the differences in family satisfaction between cohabitation and marriage weakens. In contemporary time (from 2010 forward) cohabiting partners are not less satisfied than spouses.

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Presented in Session 212: Cohabitation and Marriage