Do children of divorced parents still prefer cohabitation over marriage?

Klára Capková, Masaryk University
Martin Kreidl, Masaryk University

Family of origin has profound and far-reaching implications for one’s future behavior and life chances. Children tend to possess traits similar to their parents’ and follow similar life paths. The paper examines the link between prevailing configuration of the parental couple during childhood (two parents vs. one parent) and the choice of the first coresidential union (unmarried cohabitation vs. marriage) over time. We employ discrete-time event-history analysis with competing risks applied to retrospectively reported type of respondents’ first coresidential union. The analysis is based on a sample of adults living in the Czech Republic in 2005 surveyed as a part of the Gender and Generation Programme. The country offers an attractive context to investigate because of the rapid and profound demographic change it has been experiencing. Due to the social and economic transformation, and subsequent demographic shift starting from early 1990´s we have observed that cohabitation changed its status from a premarital stage to a common stage of partnership that eventually leads to marriage around the turn of the century. Along with a changing selection into single parenthood among parents of our primary respondents, this transformation may have led to a weaker association between parental family structure and choice of first co-residential union. Indeed, our data confirm this expectation: while children growing up with a single mother used to favor cohabitations over marriages, this effect weakened over time until it disappeared entirely in the late 1990s.

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Presented in Poster Session 1