Marriage or Cohabitation: First Union Formation in the Czech Republic
Vladimira Kantorova, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
While in the 1970s and 1980s nearly all Czech women got married and they did so at a very young age, Czech women in the 1990s delay marriage (or refrain from marrying). We study transition to first union -- either by cohabitation or by direct marriage -- on data from the Czech Fertility and Family Survey of 1997. While for the period 1970-1989 we find very stable patterns of early union formation, mostly by marriage (then around 75 % of first unions), there is a general postponement and diversification of forms of first union formation in the period of 1990-1997. Furthermore, more highly educated women have higher "risks" of direct marriage than other women do. This finding disproves the hypothesis that highly educated women were the first to adopt new family behavior in the course of recent demographic change -- at least as concerns the adoption of consensual unions.