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Dissolution of unions in Europe: a comparative overview

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  • Gunnar Andersson

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Abstract

In this paper, we present a number of descriptive measures of couples’ experience of union dissolution in a wide range of European countries. We use data from the last round of Fertility and Family Surveys in order to get a broad cross-country comparison of levels and basic patterns of union disruption in countries considered. We use corresponding data from the USA in order to find out to what extent patterns in Europe differ from those at the other side of the Atlantic. With a number of life-table estimations we display levels of union dissolution of couples in different types of unions. Evidently, the picture looks different if one follows marriages from the date of marriage formation than if one follows any union from the date when a couple moves together. In addition, the stability of unions that start as cohabitation differs from the stability of unions that begin with a direct marriage. Our presentation reveals that unions in any European country are much more stable than unions in the US. The latter country stands out as an extreme case no matter what type of union we choose to study. Nevertheless, a high degree of variation also exists within Europe; a number of Catholic countries in Southern and Eastern Europe impress with particularly low levels of union dissolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunnar Andersson, 2003. "Dissolution of unions in Europe: a comparative overview," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-004, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2003-004
    DOI: 10.4054/MPIDR-WP-2003-004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gunnar Andersson, 2002. "Children's experience of family disruption and family formation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 7(7), pages 343-364.
    2. Gunnar Andersson & Dimiter Philipov, 2001. "Life-table representations of family dynamics in 16 FFS countries," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-024, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Larry Bumpass & R. Raley, 1995. "Redefining single-parent families: Cohabitation and changing family reality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 97-109, February.
    4. Gunnar Andersson & Dimiter Philipov, 2002. "Life-table representations of family dynamics in Sweden, Hungary, and 14 other FFS countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 7(4), pages 67-144.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hill Kulu & Paul Boyle, 2010. "Premarital cohabitation and divorce: Support for the "Trial Marriage" Theory?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 23(31), pages 879-904.
    2. Anja Steinbach & Karsten Hank, 2016. "Intergenerational Relations in Older Stepfamilies: A Comparison of France, Germany, and Russia," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 71(5), pages 880-888.
    3. David M. Wright & Michael Rosato & Dermot O’Reilly, 2017. "Influence of Heterogamy by Religion on Risk of Marital Dissolution: A Cohort Study of 20,000 Couples," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 87-107, February.
    4. Christine Schnor, 2014. "The Effect of Union Status at First Childbirth on Union Stability: Evidence from Eastern and Western Germany," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(2), pages 129-160, May.
    5. Kelly Musick & Katherine Michelmore, 2018. "Cross-National Comparisons of Union Stability in Cohabiting and Married Families With Children," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(4), pages 1389-1421, August.
    6. Tomáš Sobotka & Laurent Toulemon, 2008. "Overview Chapter 4: Changing family and partnership behaviour," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(6), pages 85-138.
    7. Paul J. Boyle & Hill Kulu & Thomas Cooke & Vernon Gayle & Clara H. Mulder, 2006. "The effect of moving on union dissolution," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-002, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    8. Linda Kridahl & Ann-Zofie Duvander, 2021. "Are Mothers and Daughters Most Important? How Gender, Childhood Family Dissolution and Parents’ Current Living Arrangements Affect the Personal Care of Parents," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 10(5), pages 1-20, May.
    9. Paul Boyle & Hill Kulu & Thomas Cooke & Vernon Gayle & Clara Mulder, 2008. "Moving and union dissolution," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(1), pages 209-222, February.
    10. Paul J. Boyle & Hill Kulu, 2006. "Does cohabitation prior to marriage raise the risk of marital dissolution and does this effect vary geographically?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-051, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; family dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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