The Changing Meaning of Cohabitation: A Sequence Analysis Approach

Paola DiGiulio, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/Ă–AW, WU)
Roberto Impicciatore, UniversitĂ  degli Studi di Milano
Maria Sironi, University of Oxford

The diffusion of cohabitation during the last decades is one of the most striking aspects of wider social changes taken place throughout the industrialized world. In the course of its development the meaning of cohabitation has changed from being a deviant behavior up to an almost fully accepted one. In this paper we analyze the chain of events that links the start of a union, the birth of the first child and the (possible) end of a union not in a rigid schema but by means of sequence analysis, a flexible statistical tool, applied on GGS data. We will evaluate what is the stage that the diffusion of cohabitation reached in five different countries (Norway, France, Italy, Romania, and U.S.). We found a generalized decreasing trend for trial marriage and increasing trend for cohabitation with no other commitments like marriage or children. However, differences among selected countries seem to persist.

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Presented in Session 32: Partnerships and Fertility