Patterns behind unmarried cohabitation trends in Europe

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Series Details Vol.13, No.2, May 2011, p307-325
Publication Date May 2011
ISSN 1461-6696
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The current paper is aimed at contributing to the ongoing debate about divergence and convergence of family patterns in Europe. By adding several Eastern European countries and using several additional background indicators of cohabiting unions, the paper explores previous considerations of unmarried cohabitation. The main conclusion is that, as a universal trend, cohabitation is spreading across Europe and that while acquiring a normative value in a country it starts to develop its internal diversity.

Besides convergence (with reference to universalistic approach), there is a noticeable trend towards divergence of the cohabitation patterns in Europe. The analysis is based on the European Social Survey, Round 2, 3 and 4 (2004, 2006 and 2008 respectively) and includes the data of 15 European countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, France, Slovakia and Slovenia).

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