The Diffusion of Cohabitation among Young Women in West Germany, East Germany and Italy


DOI: 10.1023/A:1022192608963

Cite this article as:
Nazio, T. & Blossfeld, HP. European Journal of Population (2003) 19: 47. doi:10.1023/A:1022192608963


Using longitudinal data fromthe Fertility and Family Surveys andindividual-level diffusion models, the paperstudies the spreading of cohabitation amongyoung women in three countries with differentinstitutional contexts: the conservativewelfare capitalist West Germany, the formersocialist East Germany and the familialistItaly. The description of the diffusion processacross generations shows that in East and WestGermany successive birth cohorts experiencednot only an impressive rise in the proportionsof cumulative pre-cohort adoption but also asteep increase in the cumulative proportions ofpeer group adoption (to about 40–50%) at eachage. In contrast, in Italy even among theyoungest birth cohorts not more than about 10%of women have adopted cohabitation beforeeventually entering into first marriage. Theresults of the paper suggest that the diffusionof cohabitation does not imply a strongmechanism that links the cohabitationexperiences across generations. Rather,cohabitation seems to be driven mainly bydirect social modelling of peers.

cohabitation family formation diffusion social modelling structural equivalence 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of SociologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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