Research Paper MPIDR Working Paper Series 2009-021
Examining nonmarital childbearing in Europe: how does union context differ across countries?
This study analyzes the dramatic increase in nonmarital childbearing in Europe, an increase which occurred primarily within cohabitation. Using data from 10 countries, we present descriptive trends in nonmarital childbearing from 1970 to the early 2000s. In addition, we analyze union context at conception, birth, and one year after birth. This allows for the classification of different patterns of family formation into five broad categories. We also investigate how the relationship between fertility and union status changed over time and developed along different trajectories. Our research shows that despite widespread claims that marriage is disappearing in Europe, it still remains the preferred institution for raising children.