Union Instability and Fertility: An International Perspective

Ana Fostik , Statistics Canada / Statistique Canada
Mariana Fernández Soto, Programa de Población, Udelar
Fernando Ruiz-Vallejo
Daniel Ciganda, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

We analyse the effects of union instability on cumulative fertility among ever-partnered women aged 25 to 49 years old in 25 countries from Europe and America. Our main research question is whether the relationship between union instability and fertility differs in countries with varying levels of fertility and union instability. We start thus by classifying countries according to their fertility level – defined by the Total Fertility Rate –, and their level of union instability – defined as the proportion ever-separated and the proportion ever-repartnered by age 40 –. Then, we estimate cumulative fertility by conjugal trajectory at the time of survey. Finally, we use Poisson regression models to analyse the effect of union dissolution and the effect of repartnering on the number of children ever born – up to age 45 – in each country. Our descriptive findings show that countries with low fertility tend to have low or moderate levels of union instability, whereas countries with higher fertility tend to have moderate or high levels of union instability. The results from our models show that while the effect of experiencing union dissolution by age 35 on the number of children ever born is negative in all countries, the effect of repartnering by age 35 is negative in some countries but positive in others.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course