Cohabitation and Marriage -- Facts and Opinions Compared

Zsolt Speder, Hungarian Central Statistical Office
Marietta Pongr√°cz, Hungarian Central Statistical Office

The empirical investigation 'Turning points of the life course' in 2001/2002 (16364 respondents) aims to understand the emerging new demographic behaviour after the collapse of the communist system. The paper describes the evolving new type of partnership-form cohabitation. As a starting point we compare some features of marriage, 'old' and 'new' type of cohabitation, than try to capture differences behavioural features (values, rationality, quality of partnership). Using partnership history data we define the historical time of the emergence of cohabitation and conclude that the process started before the societal transition. Using educational achievement we could define the social-structural setting of cohabitation. The life course perspective enables us to investigate the inter-relationship of cohabitation and marriage, and discuss how far is cohabitation a pre-marital relationship. The stated change in partnership behaviour influenced profoundly the fertility behaviour, and resulted in overall fertility decline.

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Presented in Session 148: International Perspectives on Cohabitation