Examining the Gap between First and Higher-Parity Cohabiting Births: Findings from across Europe

Brienna Perelli-Harris, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Although cohabitation has rapidly become a common setting for childbearing in European countries, the percent of first births within cohabitation is substantially higher than that of higher parity births. Using harmonized union and reproductive histories from 10 countries in Europe, we analyze the potential reasons for this gap: 1) marriage between first and subsequent births and 2) lower overall fertility among long-term cohabitors. We also examine whether entering cohabitation after bearing a child as a single or divorced mother may increase the percent of higher order births within cohabitation. By comparing changes in union status between first and second births, as well as analyzing women’s partnership trajectories after a first birth, we will investigate how nonmarital fertility and the meaning of cohabitation differs across countries.

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Presented in Session 162: Comparative Perspectives on Nonmarital Fertility