The Different Impact of Living Arrangements around Childbirth on Family Stability in Eastern and Western Germany

Christine Schnor, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This paper studies cultural differences in the impact of living in a married, cohabiting or non co-residing union on family stability with the new innovative German panel study pairfam and its supplement DemoDiff. The dynamics of the union at the time of family formation and during parenthood influence the risk of separation. Previous studies have shown that remaining in cohabitation is related with higher instability. The study investigates if the dissolution risk refers to the cultural norms of the region where this decision is taken. Cultural differences draw back on the two political regimes during German division, but even existed before. Non-marital living arrangements with children are much more prevalent in eastern Germany. Results suggest that regional differences can be explained by the selection of actors into union types, a process mainly driven by prevailing cultural differences in eastern and western Germany.

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Presented in Session 52: The Context of Cohabiting Unions