First Union Formation in Canada: Trends in the Prevalence and Timing of Cohabitation and Marriage for Canadians Born between 1930 and 1996

Laura Wright, University of Western Ontario

Trends in the median age at marriage have been well documented, yet very little is known about median age at first cohabitation, especially in Canada. Using the 2011 Canadian GSS, I document changes across birth cohorts in the type of first union Canadians form and assess whether increases in cohabitation have offset declines in marriage in Canada. I also examine regional and educational differences in the propensity of Canadians to marry or cohabit with their first partner and how these differences have changed over 50 years. Finally, I examine age at first union formation, at first marriage, and at first cohabitation to determine if the trend of delaying marriage extends to all types of partnerships in Canada. Trends in union formation in Canada have historically been different from those in the U.S. which makes Canada an interesting case in its own right, but also as a comparison to the U.S.

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