The Influence of Parental Education on Timing and Type of Union Formation: Changes over the Life Course and Historical Time in the Netherlands

Jarl Mooyaart, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Aart C. Liefbroer, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Family background shapes young adults' decisions in their transition to adulthood and the outcomes of these decisions lay the foundation for their subsequent life-course. This study examines the influence of parental education on their children's union formation process up to first marriage. We examine the timing of entry into a first union (irrespective of whether this is a married or a cohabiting union), the choice between marriage and cohabitation, and the timing of first marriage. Data from multiple nationally representative surveys conducted in the Netherlands are pooled (N=32,032) with cohorts being born between 1931 and 1990, to not only examine the effect of parental education on union formation, but also whether the effect changes over historical time and over the life-course. Results from discrete-time hazard analyses demonstrate little change in the effect of parental education across cohorts and periods, while life-course changes in the effect of parental education are strong.

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Presented in Session 129: Cohabitation and Marriage