Societal Norms, Economic Conditions and Spatial Variation of Childbearing in Cohabitation across Europe

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Premarital cohabitation and childbearing in cohabitation have increasingly gained ground over the last 50 years. However, existing hypotheses and theoretical frameworks on the factors behind this process are not coherent. Proponents of the Second Demographic Transition framework interpret it as a pattern of progress, which is, e.g., resulting from an increasing economic autonomy of women. Others see rises in cohabitation related to a pattern of agony, as they are often concentrated among individuals faced with blocked opportunities. This paper revisits these existing theoretical considerations focusing on the influence of societal norms and economic conditions on childbearing in cohabitation. By analyzing harmonized survey data on family formation behavior from 16 European countries we use a 3-level hierarchical model controlling for individual-level characteristics as well as within- and between-country variation in regional social and economic conditions. Our results give support for both frameworks, but their relevance seems to vary by geographic scale.

  See paper

Presented in Session 115: Non-Marital and Diverse Family Forms