Cross-national differences in continuing childbearing in re-partnering – the role of partnership context

Paulina Galezewska, University of Southampton

This paper investigates cross-national differences in women’s continuing childbearing after union dissolution in contemporary Europe taking into account the partnership context. While the majority of studies have analysed fertility of re-partnered divorced women, less is known about childbearing after non-marital union dissolution. Yet, given the gradual increase across Europe in the prevalence of cohabitation and a rising proportion of non-marital births occurring within cohabitation, a broader conceptual framework examining fertility in new partnerships is needed. The objective of this study is, therefore, to provide the first descriptive analyses on the relationship between union type at first birth and the type of a subsequent union on fertility decision of separated or divorced mothers. Using a unique and powerful cross-national data set “Harmonized Histories”, which contains cleaned and standardized reproductive and partnership histories of women from various European countries, we apply the statistical methods of a discrete time hazard model. Our results show similar patterns of partnership context for continuing childbearing in all studied European countries, namely, the subsequent union status has a stronger impact on fertility after union dissolution than the partnership context at first birth. We find that women married and cohabiting at first birth, in most cases, do not differ in their childbearing after union dissolution. Furthermore, women who cohabit after union dissolution have a significantly lower risk of continuing their childbearing in the new partnership than their married counterparts.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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