Do female same-sex unions still have a higher risk of divorce than male same-sex unions? The case of Norway 1993 to 2010

Turid Noack, Statistics Norway
Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik, Statistics Norway
Ane Seierstad, Statistics Norway

The Scandinavian countries were among the first to legally recognize same-sex unions. In Norway, registered partnerships were introduced in 1993. In 2009, a gender-neutral marriage legislation was adopted, and those who were living in registered partnerships were given the opportunity to convert their civil status to marriage. By 2010, 547 same sex couples had married and 35% of the registered partnerships entered between 1993 and 2008 had been converted to marriage. There has been a recent switch to higher female than male same-sex union formation in all the Scandinavian countries. Previous research has showed that the divorce risk in the female unions was much higher than in opposite sex marriages and male same-sex unions. The divorce risk analyses are from what can be seen as the pioneering period of registered partnership in Norway (1993-2001) and Sweden (1995-2002), but are verified by Danish data from 1989-2002). Using Norwegian longitudinal register data we will, first, present updated descriptive statistics on all same-sex marriages and partnerships entered 1993-2010. Second, we will reconsider the divorce risk for same-sex couples in this period. The end of the pioneering period and changing composition of same-sex partnerships may have lowered the high divorce risk previously found for female couples, partly because more female couples have children.

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Presented in Poster Session 2