Legal and Residential Partnership Status in Europe

Melinda Mills, University of Groningen
Anne-Rigt Poortman, Utrecht University

The last review of partnership patterns in Europe uses data from the 1990s. Since then new legal partnership options have emerged, yet we know little about contemporary patterns or who opts for new alternatives. Using 2006/7 European Social Survey data from 23 countries (N=41,117), we show partnership patterns of both sexes, then focus on 13 countries that have recognized legal partnerships and apply a multilevel multinomial logit model to compare country differences. Preliminary results show those in legal partnerships are significantly less religious, less traditional, younger and less likely to have children. Differences between countries emerge such as the presence of children in nonmarital unions and varying educational levels by type of union. We conclude with a discussion about the relevance of this research in relation to unintended consequences and lack of legal clarity in certain unions (paternity rights, inheritance, status after death or divorce).

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Presented in Session 147: Family and Household in Historical and Comparative Perspective