Singlehood in Spain in the 21st century: gender models and new immigration patterns

Pau Miret Gamundi, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Spain lived certain labour market prosperity and an unprecedented immigration increase in the beginning of the 21st Century. Indeed, both the quantity (higher activity and occupation rates) and the quality (higher proportion of tenure contracts) have risen. Young people have also benefited from this improvement, as they have gained more stable jobs. Some demographic indicators, particularly those related to leaving home, partnership formation and fertility, have grown in parallel to these former trends. The issue analysed in this paper has to do with the second phenomenon mentioned: Have young people taken advantage of the improvements in labour market conditions in order to form more partnerships with an earlier timing? Is this rise in the number of couples being formed due to the fact that immigrants are importing their own behaviour patterns in this matter from their countries of origin? And, finally, has the gender model changed for these new couples? The Spanish Labour Force (SLF) is an excellent source of data to capture this phenomenon. It can be considered as the best primary dataset to analyse 21st century Spain, as it appears every three months, fieldwork is punctual and micro-data is exquisitely spread. Moreover, 60,000 households which are representative of the whole Spanish territory are interviewed for each wave. The first time in which the SLF asked for the marital situation of all the members in the household was in the first quarter of 1999. Therefore, it has become our initial observational point. Our independent variable is made up from these two factors and identifies the individuals who have never been married (those who remain single) and who were not living with a partner when the survey was carried out (as nobody in the household could answer to the status of being their couple).

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Presented in Poster Session 1