Exploring Change and Variation in the Economic Underpinnings of Non-Marriage for Late 20th Century Europe

Karra Greenberg, University of California, Los Angeles

Over the second half of the 20th Century, European countries experienced dramatic social and economic changes, accompanied by reduced marriage rates at young ages for men and women. Educational disparities in ever-marrying are concerning because marriage brings benefits in physical and mental health which surpass the benefits of not being married. However, remarkably little attention has focused on the association between education and never-marrying (by age 40) in contemporary Europe. Utilizing data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) for cohorts born 1934-1953, and data from the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) for cohorts born 1954-1963, logistic regression models test the relationship between educational attainment and non-marriage for women and men in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. I focus on identifying where the nature of this relationship changed over time, indicating that differential access to marriage has emerged as a new axis of inequality.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households