Marriage Timing and Childbearing in Sweden

Jennifer Holland, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Increasingly marriage and childbearing have become decoupled. More than half of all children in Sweden are born outside of marriage. However, it is likely that the presence of children is still linked to marriage, as the vast majority of children who are born to cohabiting couples will experience the marriage of their parents. The temporal ordering of childbearing and marriage may be informative as to people’s intentions and the meaning of marriage. In this paper I explore three possible meanings of marriage vis-à-vis childbearing: marriage as a legitimizing, reinforcing and capstone institution. I model marriage risks among Swedish cohabiters with specifications of parity and age of youngest child in order to identify these three typologies of marriages. I further investigate whether temporal, social and economic variations in the timing of marriage are consistent with the typologies of marriage proposed here.

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Presented in Poster Session 2