The Changing Educational Gradient and Family Life in Europe and the North-America

David Reher , Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Miguel Requena, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Glenn Sandström, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Umeå University
Mojgan Padyab, Umeå University

There is some indication that the traditional educational gradient for indicators related to family life may be changing, at least in some developed countries. Traditionally more highly educated women have been less likely to have children, more likely to get divorced, more likely to live alone, more likely to be cohabiting rather than married than women with lower levels of education. Any change in this gradient would have far-reaching implications for social change and social inequalities in the developed world and would pose important challenges for social policy. We know little about this process in much of the developed world. Explaining the gradient itself and the reasons for any change constitute an important challenge for social science research. Considering the persistently low fertility in the developed world, the relative instability of family life and the pace of aging, the stakes of this emerging issue are indeed high and have implications for the long-run sustainability of our welfare society. In this extended abstract we present preliminary results derived from an exploratory analysis of how the association between education and the probability of living alone and being married have evolved for the female population 40-64 between 1980-2010 in a number of European countries and in the US and Canada.

See extended abstract

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