Housing Conditions and Union Dissolution in Germany

Sandra Krapf, University of Cologne

Couples decide to cohabit because of several reasons, for instance partners simply want to spend more time together or to try whether marriage would work for them. But what happens to romantic partnerships if the apartment or house is substandard? Employing stress theory, it seems plausible that housing problems can produce stress and conflict between coresiding partners. Such negative spillover effects might be a reason for separation. In this study, we investigate in how far housing conditions of cohabiting couples affect union stability. Using the German Family Panel pairfam, we analyze 6,796 cohabiting partnerships and their risk of dissolution within a time frame of five years. The housing conditions of interest in our discrete time event history model are the average space per person in square meters, the average number of rooms per person and the share of housing costs in the household income.

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