The Effect of Children on Men’s and Women’s Chances of Re-partnering in a European Context

L’impact des enfants sur les chances d’une nouvelle union pour les hommes et pour les femmes dans un contexte européen

Abstract

This work examines what role children play in the re-partnering process in five European countries (Norway, France, Germany, Romania, and the Russian Federation) by addressing the following research questions: (1) To what extent do men and women differ in their re-partnering chances?; (2) Can gender differences in re-partnering be explained by the presence of children?; (3) How do the custodial arrangements and the child’s age affect the re-partnering chances of men and women? We use the partnership and parenthood histories of the participants in the first wave of the Generations and Gender Survey (United Nations, Generations and Gender Programme: Survey Instruments. United Nations, New York/Geneva, 2005) to examine the transition to moving in with a new partner following the dissolution of the first marital union, separately for men and women. The story that emerges is one of similarities in the effects rather than differences. In most countries, men are more likely to re-partner than women. This gender difference can be attributed to the presence of children as our analyses show that childless men and women do not differ in their probability to re-partner. Mothers with resident children are less likely to re-partner than non-mothers and a similar though often non-significant effect of resident children is observed for fathers. In most countries we find that as the child ages, the chances to enter a new union increase. In sum, our study indicates that children are an important factor in re-partnering and a contributor to the documented gender gap in re-partnering, and this holds throughout distinct institutional and cultural settings.

Résumé

Cet article étudie le rôle joué par les enfants dans la formation d’une nouvelle union dans cinq pays européens (Norvège, France, Allemagne, Roumanie et la Fédération de Russie) en tentant de répondre aux questions de recherche suivantes (1) dans quelle mesure les probabilités des hommes et des femmes de former une nouvelle union diffèrent-elles ? (2) la présence d’enfants peut-elle expliquer les différences de genre dans ce domaine ? (3) Les dispositions relatives à la garde de l’enfant et l’âge de l’enfant ont-ils un impact sur les probabilités d’une nouvelle union pour les hommes et pour les femmes ? Les histoires des unions et les histoires parentales des participants à la première vague des enquêtes Générations et Genre (GGS, Nations Unies ?, 2005) ont été utilisées pour étudier la transition vers une nouvelle union après la dissolution du premier mariage pour les hommes et pour les femmes séparément. Les résultats montrent des effets semblables plutôt que divergents. Dans la plupart des pays, les hommes ont des probabilités de former une nouvelle union plus élevées que les femmes. Cette différence de genre peut être attribuée à la présence d’enfants car nos analyses montrent que les probabilités d’une nouvelle union des hommes et des femmes sans enfant sont similaires. Les mères dont les enfants vivent avec elles sont moins susceptibles de former une nouvelle union que les femmes sans enfant, un effet semblable quoique non significatif étant observé pour les pères vivant avec leurs enfants. Dans la plupart des pays, plus l’enfant est âgé et plus les chances de former une nouvelle union augmentent. En résumé, notre étude montre que les enfants jouent un rôle important dans la transition vers une nouvelle union et qu’ils contribuent aux différences de genre, déjà connues, dans la formation d’une nouvelle union, ceci quels que soient les contextes culturels et institutionnels.

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Correspondence to Katya Ivanova.

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Ivanova, K., Kalmijn, M. & Uunk, W. The Effect of Children on Men’s and Women’s Chances of Re-partnering in a European Context. Eur J Population 29, 417–444 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-013-9294-5

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Gender differences
  • Re-partnering
  • Residence

Mots-clés

  • Enfants
  • Différences de genre
  • Nouvelle union
  • Résidence