Advertisement

What Is Driving Marriage and Cohabitation in Low Fertility Countries?

  • Gavin JonesEmail author

Abstract

In an earlier paper, I argued that “effective singlehood” in East Asia had run ahead of the West – if cohabitation was equated with marriage. In the decade since then, some interesting changes have taken place. In Europe, singlehood on the whole appears to have increased, even when those currently cohabiting are removed from the “single” category, but the trend is less clear when those who have ever cohabited are removed from the category. Though cohabitation has increased in Spain and Italy, these countries still have much higher proportions effectively single than do Scandinavia or Western Europe. Effective singlehood is increasing more sharply in some of the countries of East Asia than in Europe, tending to further widen the gap between the higher levels of effective singlehood in East Asian countries than those in Europe. The chapter goes on to examine the meanings of cohabitation across Europe, the limited evidence about trends in cohabitation in East Asia, and whether rising prevalence of singlehood by choice in East Asia and some European countries is evidence of the second demographic transition. The similarity in some aspects of family patterns between Southern European and East Asian countries are analysed in relation to high levels of effective singlehood in these countries. In an earlier paper, I argued that “effective singlehood” in East Asia had run ahead of the West – if cohabitation was equated with marriage. In the decade since then, some interesting changes have taken place. In Europe, singlehood on the whole appears to have increased, even when those currently cohabiting are removed from the “single” category, but the trend is less clear when those who have ever cohabited are removed from the category. Though cohabitation has increased in Spain and Italy, these countries still have much higher proportions effectively single than do Scandinavia or Western Europe. Effective singlehood is increasing more sharply in some of the countries of East Asia than in Europe, tending to further widen the gap between the higher levels of effective singlehood in East Asian countries than those in Europe. The chapter goes on to examine the meanings of cohabitation across Europe, the limited evidence about trends in cohabitation in East Asia, and whether rising prevalence of singlehood by choice in East Asia and some European countries is evidence of the second demographic transition. The similarity in some aspects of family patterns between Southern European and East Asian countries are analysed in relation to high levels of effective singlehood in these countries.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author thanks Wajihah Hamid and Divya Ramchand for research assistance in the preparation of this chapter.

References

  1. Bumpass, L., Rindfuss, R., Choe, M. K., & Tsuya, N. (2008, November 12–14). The institutional context of low fertility: The case of Japan. Paper presented at the International Conference on Low Fertility and Reproductive Health in East and Southeast Asia, Tokyo, Japan.Google Scholar
  2. Centre for Comparative Social Surveys. (2012). European Social Survey (ESS), Round 6 (2012). London: City University London, Centre for Comparative Social Surveys.Google Scholar
  3. Chang, K.-S. (2010). South Korea under compressed modernity: Familial political economy in transition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Cherlin, A. (2012). Goode’s world revolution and family patterns: A reconsideration at fifty years. Population and Development Review, 38(4), 577–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dalla Zuanna, G., & Micheli, G. A. (2004). Strong family and low fertility: A paradox? New Perspectives in interpreting contemporary family and reproductive behaviour. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  6. Dominguez-Folgueras, M., & Castro-Martin, T. (2013). Cohabitation in Spain: No longer a marginal path to family formation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75, 422–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Esteve, A., Lesthaeghe, R., & Lopez-Gay, A. (2012). The Latin American cohabitation boom, 1970–2007. Population and Development Review, 38(1), 55–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Festy, P. (2000, October 16–18). Looking for European demography, desperately? Paper presented at the Expert Group Meeting on Population Responses to Population Ageing and Population Decline, United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Fokkema, T., & Liefbroner, A. C. (2008). Trends in living arrangements in Europe: Convergence or divergence? Demographic Research, 19, 1351–1418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frejka, T., Jones, G., & Sardon, J.-P. (2010). East Asian childbearing patterns and policy developments. Population and Development Review, 36(3), 579–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Goldstein, J. R., Sobotka, T., & Jasilionene, A. (2009). The end of “lowest-low” fertility? Population and Development Review, 35(4), 663–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goode, W. (1963). World revolution and family patterns. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  13. Heuveline, P., & Timberlake, J. (2004). The role of cohabitation in family formation: The United States in comparative perspective. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(5), 1214–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hiekel, N., Liefbroer, A. C., & Poortman, A.-R. (2011). The meaning of cohabitation across Europe, Netherlands interdisciplinary Demographic Institute. http://epc2012.princeton.edu/papers/120762
  15. Johnson-Hanks, J. A., Bachrach, C. A., Philip Morgan, S., & Kohler, H.-P. (2011). Understanding family change and variation: Toward a theory of conjunctural action. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones, G. W. (2007). Delayed marriage and very low fertility in Pacific Asia. Population and Development Review, 33(3), 453–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones, G. W. (2012a). Population policy in a prosperous city-state: Dilemmas for Singapore. Population and Development Review, 38(2), 311–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones, G. W. (2012b). International marriage in Asia: What do we know, and what do we need to know? In D.-S. Kim (Ed.), Cross-border marriage: Global trends and diversity. Seoul: Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA).Google Scholar
  19. Jones, G. W., & Gubhaju, B. (2009). Factors influencing changes in mean age at first marriage and proportions never marrying in the low-fertility countries of East and Southeast Asia. Asian Population Studies, 5(3), 237–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones, G. W., & Yeung, W.-J. J. (2014). Marriage in Asia. Journal of Family Issues, 35(12), 1567–1583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones, G. W., Yanxia, Z., & Zhi, P. C. P. (2012). Understanding high levels of singlehood in Singapore. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 43(5), 731–750.Google Scholar
  22. Kasearu, K., & Kutsar, D. (2010). Patterns behind unmarried cohabitation trends in Europe. European Societies, 13(2), 307–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kertzer, D. I., White, M. J., Bernardi, L. & Gabrielli, G. (2006, April). Toward a better theory of very low fertility: Lessons from Italy, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
  24. Kiernan, K. (2004). Unmarried cohabitation and parenthood in Britain and Europe. Law and Policy, 26(1), 33–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lesthaeghe, R. (2010). The unfolding story of the second demographic transition. Population and Development Review, 36(2), 211–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Livi Bacci, M. (2001). Too few children, too much family. Daedalus, 130(3), 139–156.Google Scholar
  27. McDonald, P. (1992). Convergence or compromise in historical family change? In E. Berquo & P. Xenos (Eds.), Family systems and cultural change (pp. 15–30). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  28. Myrskyla, M., Kohler, H.-P., & Billari, F. C. (2009). Advances in development reverse fertility declines. Nature, 460, 741–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nazio, T., & Blossfeld, H.-P. (2003). The diffusion of cohabitation among young women in West Germany, East Germany and Italy. European Journal of Population, 19, 47–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Noack, T., Bernhardt, E., & Wiik, K. A. (2014). Cohabitation or marriage? Contemporary living arrangements in the West. In A. Abela & J. Walker (Eds.), Contemporary issues in family studies: Global perspectives on partnership, parenting and support in a changing world (pp. 16–30). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. Pereiro, T. G., Pace, R., & Didonna, M. G. (2014). Entering first union: The choice between cohabitation and marriage among women in Italy and Spain. Journal of Population Research, 31, 51–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perelli-Harris, B., Sigle-Rushton, W., Lappegard, T., Jasilioniene, A., Di Giulio, P., Keizer, R., Koeppen, K., Berghammer, C., & Kreyenfeld, M. (2009). Examining nonmarital childbearing in Europe: How does union context differ across countries? (MPIDR Working Paper WP 2009-021) Rostock: Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research.Google Scholar
  33. Raymo, J., Iwasawa, M., & Bumpass, L. (2009). Cohabitation and family formation in Japan. Demography, 46(4), 785–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reher, D. S. (1998). Family ties in Western Europe: Persistent contrasts. Population and Development Review, 24(2), 203–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sobotka, T., & Toulemon, L. (2008). Changing family and partnership behaviour: Common trends and persistent diversity across Europe. Demographic Research, 19, 85–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Suzuki, T. (2008). Korea’s strong familism and lowest-low fertility. International Journal of Japanese Sociology, 17, 30–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Therborn, G. (2004). Between sex and power: Family in the world, 1900–2000. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Tsuya, N. O. (2015). Below-replacement fertility in Japan: Patterns, factors and policy implications. In R. R. Rindfuss & M. K. Choe (Eds.), Low and lower fertility: Variations across developed countries. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Tsuya, N. O., Bumpass, L. L., Choe, M. K., & Rindfuss, R. R. (2013). Employment and household tasks of Japanese couples, 1994–2009. Demographic Research, 27, 705–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. van de Kaa, D. (1987). Europe’s second demographic transition. Population Bulletin, 42, 1–59.Google Scholar
  41. Xenos, P., Achmad, S., Lin, H. S., Luis, P. K., Podhisita, C., Raymundo, C., & Thapa, S. (2006). Delayed Asian transitions to adulthood: A perspective from national youth surveys. Asian Population Studies, 2(2), 149–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations