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Only three decades ago, many demographers believed that the nuclear family – married adults and their biological children – was the modal family structure toward which all…
Only three decades ago, many demographers believed that the nuclear family – married adults and their biological children – was the modal family structure toward which all societies would rapidly converge (e.g. Goode, 1970). Indeed, during the two decades following World War II, marriage and childbearing in most Western nations tended to: (1) occur early in adulthood; (2) follow a predictable sequence; and (3) be tightly coupled. That is, young couples first married, and then quickly began having children. Over the past few decades in many Western countries, however, marriage and fertility have been increasingly delayed to later adulthood and decoupled from one another, such that the sequence and timing of partnership formation and childbearing have changed dramatically. As a result, most Western nations have experienced increasing rates of out-of-wedlock and out-of-partnership fertility and nonmarital cohabitation1 (as well as divorce) (Goldscheider et al., 2001; Haskey, 2001; Hoem & Hoem, 1988; Kiernan, 2001; Martin & Bumpass, 1989; Murphy, 2000; Noack, 2001; Ostner, 2001; Prinz, 1995; Toulemon, 1997). The pace of change has been so swift that in the preface to the second edition of Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Cherlin (1992, p. vii) remarks that only ten years after the publication of the first edition a more appropriate title to the book might have been Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, More Cohabitation, and Probably Remarriage.
In recent years, Asian countries have experienced rising rates of premarital cohabitation, mirroring a similar trend that could be observed in many European countries…
In recent years, Asian countries have experienced rising rates of premarital cohabitation, mirroring a similar trend that could be observed in many European countries several decades ago. As international differences in these trends are often attributed to institutional and societal differences, this study explores how China’s and Germany’s welfare and cultural regimes relate to national differences in the timing and prevalence of premarital cohabitation and direct marriage.
On the basis of two post-hoc harmonized surveys (pairfam for Germany; CFPS for China), descriptive analyses and logistic regressions were conducted. A higher standardization of partnership trajectories during the transition to adulthood was observed in China; this being probably related to China’s collectivist and Germany’s individualistic culture. While urban–rural differences prevail in China, and are attributable to China’s hukou system, East and West Germans differ considerably in this regard, a finding which can be traced back to regional differences in historical legacy. Discrepancies in economic modernization explain why the likelihood of experiencing these events differs for individuals in the Eastern and Western Chinese provinces.
Besides these differences, the two national contexts resemble each other in the prevalence of educational hypergamy, as well as in greater rates of cohabitation prior to first marriage, in contrast to direct marriage, seen among wealthier individuals and those with higher education. For the first time, the effects of cultural and institutional differences on the transition to adulthood were compared between a collectivistic vs. individualistic cultural regime and a productivist vs. corporatist conservative welfare regime, enabling researchers to draw conclusions about the link between cultural and welfare regime types and partnership patterns.
Purpose: Premarital cohabitation has increased dramatically in China in the last few decades. Past studies have suggested that education is positively associated with…
Purpose: Premarital cohabitation has increased dramatically in China in the last few decades. Past studies have suggested that education is positively associated with premarital cohabitation in China, but how this association changes over time when cohabitation grows from a marginal phenomenon to a popular choice remains unknown. This chapter investigates the changes in the association between education and premarital cohabitation among married individuals in post-reform China.
Design/methodology/approach: Using pooled data from the China Family Panel Studies (2010–2016), logistic regressions are carried out to compare the association between education and premarital cohabitation across three marriage cohorts: 1981–1992, 1993–2001, and 2002–2016.
Findings: Results show that opposite to trends in many Western countries, the positive association between education and premarital cohabitation has not decreased but instead strengthened over time in China. This trend is more consistent for women than men.
Research limitations/implications: The pathways through which education influences cohabitation have not been examined. Moreover, the scope of this research is limited to married individuals and does not include cohabiting experiences that do not lead to marriage. Future research may address this issue when such data become available.
Originality/value: This chapter for the first time examines how the association between education and premarital cohabitation changes over time across different marriage cohorts and whether the diffusion process has happened like what has been observed in Western countries. The findings suggest that China is developing different patterns and trends of demographic changes because of its unique institutional and cultural context.
This paper aims to explore how couples reflect gender role–related attitudes in their family formation process and whether these processes could be described through the…
This paper aims to explore how couples reflect gender role–related attitudes in their family formation process and whether these processes could be described through the lens of ambivalence. Using qualitative methods, semi-structured interviews with Estonian married and cohabiting couples were conducted (all together 24 interviewees). Analysis revealed themes of ambivalence toward gender roles among married and cohabiting couples. The present study could be classified as exploratory in identifying ambivalence, with open-ended and emergent analysis.
It is known that Estonians have adopted Western values and their family behavior resembles that of Nordic countries. However, our interviews showed that on the level of the individual, gender role–related attitudes in relationships have remained traditional. The reason for this might lie in the rapid change of values that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Western lifestyle was seen as an ideal, and copied in behavior before the actual family or gender role values could undergo the transformation needed to support egalitarian family values.
Our study reveals that the societal context of a rapid change in values and norms might create confusion and ambivalence in attitudes. Therefore, a high proportion of cohabiting couples might not be the product of egalitarian gender role–related attitudes but a product of ambivalent couple relations where the couple has not discussed thoroughly the vision and expectations they have for each other and their relationship.
This paper aims at a better understanding of contemporary women’s relationship paths and their reasoning behind them. Qualitative interviews with 48 rural and urban women…
This paper aims at a better understanding of contemporary women’s relationship paths and their reasoning behind them. Qualitative interviews with 48 rural and urban women from Western Mexico were conducted and analyzed using a thematic approach and data discussed from a feminist, gender approach and late modernity approach. Findings reveal civil and religious marriages were the paths two-third of women followed to start a family and that women living in permanent and alternating cohabitation did not seek to marry. Women held ambivalent views on marital life and poorer and less-educated women, particularly urban participants, had no choice but to marry. Findings on reasoning reveal a more complex and diverse reality than previous sociodemographic studies have portrayed, where pragmatism and social order were the main causes for marrying and cohabitation. Narratives show premarital sex and the symbolism of marriage and family are changing. A comparative approach between contexts of study, age groups, civil status, and social strata enriched and strengthened the discussion of the findings. The results were contrasted with existing Mexican literature from different fields. A larger qualitative study is needed to broaden the scope of the findings made by this study, whilst large-scale studies should consider either the use of mixed approaches or the inclusion of items that allow them to identify the elements of social and cultural change. The study could help to demystify women’s attitudes toward marriage, sex, and love; a field currently sprinkled with western romantic love values and gender-driven idealizations. This paper might be of interest for social demographers, anthropologists, sociologists, and historians conducting research on these themes from feminist and gender perspectives.
The purpose of this paper is to explore in depth the special context and unique life experience of the online dating site and provide insights regarding an interpretation…
The purpose of this paper is to explore in depth the special context and unique life experience of the online dating site and provide insights regarding an interpretation of virtual cohabitation model.
This study uses netnography, online interviews and the physical travel of researchers to the field for field participation and observations. The combination of netnography and online interviews combines online and offline studies to achieve more consistency in the data collection, analysis and other processes. In-person participation in observations makes the research more realistic. The combination of these qualitative methods is helpful in achieving a more comprehensive and accurate research process.
The findings of the study can be classified into a three-stage situational context approach, which is presented in the form of propositions. Finally, the insight of the virtual cohabitation context model was developed, namely, motivation (including escapism, hedonic gratification and autonomous), showing off and psychological compensation, stimulation and fantasies, emotions (including impulsiveness, emotions and desires), over-control and low self-control, behavioral control, gratification and dependence and love trap (including sex transactions and consumption traps).
The theoretical contribution of this study is to establish an interpretation of virtual cohabitation model and ten related propositions.
This study assessed the marital quality of older men and women in first marriages and remarriages, examining gender differences within first marriages and remarriages, and…
This study assessed the marital quality of older men and women in first marriages and remarriages, examining gender differences within first marriages and remarriages, and marriage order differences for men and women separately.
The study employed nationally representative survey data for 1,243 married adults, aged 62–91, from Wave II of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), conducted in 2010–2011. Marital quality was assessed with six positive relationship dimensions and two negative ones.
Descriptive data revealed mean ratings above scale midpoints on all positive dimensions of marital quality, and mean ratings generally below the midpoints on the negative dimensions for men and women in both first marriages and remarriages. Multivariate analyses indicated an overall stronger influence of gender than marriage order on marital quality for this sample of older adults. In both first marriages and remarriages, men reported more favorable perceptions of marriage across several positive dimensions (e.g., emotional satisfaction, physical pleasure), though they also reported more spousal criticism than did women. Within gender groups, marriage order was not associated with any of the dimensions of marital quality that were assessed.
This study demonstrates that marriage order does not have a significant influence on the marital quality of older adults today, but that long-standing gender differences in marital quality hold across marriage order. These findings are critical given the increasingly diverse marital histories of individuals entering old age in the early 21st century, and the importance of a positive, supportive marriage for older adults’ well-being.
In this study, we ask whether economic factors that can be directly manipulated by public policy have important effects on the probability that women experience…
In this study, we ask whether economic factors that can be directly manipulated by public policy have important effects on the probability that women experience long-lasting unions. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we estimate a five-stage sequential choice model for women's transitions between single with no prior unions, cohabiting, first-married, re-single (divorced or separated), and remarried. We control for expected income tax burdens, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, Medicaid expenditures, and parameters of state divorce laws, along with an array of demographic, family background, and market factors. We simulate women's sequences of transitions from age 18 to 48 and use the simulated outcomes to predict the probability that a woman with given characteristics (a) forms a first union by age 24 and maintains the union for at least 12 years, and (b) forms a second union by age 36 and maintains it for at least 12 years. While non-policy factors such as race and schooling prove to have important effects on the predicted probabilities of long-term unions, the policy factors have small and/or imprecisely estimated effects; in short, we fail to identify policy mechanisms that could potentially be used to incentivize long-term unions.
Attitudes and beliefs towards marriage and family held by Chinese and American college students were compared in this study. The primary dimensions included whether to…
Attitudes and beliefs towards marriage and family held by Chinese and American college students were compared in this study. The primary dimensions included whether to marry, age to marry, number of desired children, age to have children, perceptions of divorce, willingness to cohabit, openness to blended marriages, and gender roles within marriage. If a global convergence of cultures is occurring, then similarities should be found throughout the views of all respondents towards the institution of marriage. Dissimilarities in views could be interpreted as evidence of the entrenchment and uniqueness of culture, an outcome advanced by those who question cultural homogenisation. Hundreds of college students in several large universities in China and one regional university in the United States were surveyed at convenience. The Chinese students were found to prefer marrying and to plan having children a year later in age compared to the Americans. They also desired having nearly one fewer total number of children on average compared to the Americans. Surprisingly, the Chinese were more agreeable with divorce. The Americans were more likely to support gender equality within marriage and to accept blended types of marriage. Both groups equally approved of the overall idea of couples cohabiting if they plan on marrying. However, the Americans were far more willing to say that they themselves would cohabit. Visions of the benefits of married life were similar across countries. Overall, far more significant differences were found than no differences. The results suggest that elements of marriage norms in the world’s largest economies are somewhat constrained by social forces in their ability to completely converge.
Empirical research has unambiguously shown that married men receive higher wages than unmarried, whereas a wage premium for cohabiters is not as evident yet. This paper…
Empirical research has unambiguously shown that married men receive higher wages than unmarried, whereas a wage premium for cohabiters is not as evident yet. This paper aims to exploit the observed difference between the marital and the cohabiting wage premium in Germany to draw conclusions about the sources, typically explained by specialisation (e.g. husbands being more productive because their wives take over household chores) or selection (high earnings potentials being more attractive on the marriage market).
The paper analyzes the cohabiting and the marital wage premium in Germany using a shifting panel design for marriages and move‐ins from 1993 to 2004 in the German Socio‐Economic Panel. With non‐parametric matching models men who get married (treatment group I) are matched with cohabiting respectively single men (control groups) and men who move in with a partner (treatment group II) with singles.
Matching reveals that higher wages are mostly due to positive selection – into marriage as well as into cohabitation. Supplementary analysis of intra‐household time use suggests that specialization, if any, is part of the selection process from single to cohabitation to marriage.
This is the first application of non‐parametric matching in a comparative study of the marital and the cohabiting wage premium and thus provides new insights into their respective sources. It is also the first investigation of family‐status‐related wage premiums in Germany.