Serial Monogamy: An Increasingly Common Pathway to Childlessness

Rannveig V. Kaldager, Statistics Norway and University of Oslo

Childbearing and union entry and dissolution are strongly interrelated processes. Traditionally, remaining childless has been linked to never entering a union. Union dissolution is known to hinder to realization of fertility intentions, and as union dissolution rates surge and an increasing number of persons experience multiple unions, a new union context for childlessness may emerge. This study addresses the link between union history and childlessness, and how it changes over time. We use data on union and fertility histories from the Norwegian GGS (N=8 494) for men and women born 1928-1966. After applying sequence analysis to organize union histories into clusters, we study the link between cluster membership and probability to remain childless at age 40. The results show that never entering a union is a strong predictor of childlessness throughout the period. Serial monogamy emerges as a new route to childlessness in younger cohorts, particularly among men.

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Presented in Session 165: Infertility and Childlessness