Changing partnership trajectories in Hungary after World War II: generations and social groups

Virag Bognar, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)

Diversity of partnership and parental trajectories are common in contemporary societies. In Hungarian demographic and family sociology research both quantitative and qualitative projects underlined that partnership trajectories have crucial relevance regarding the low fertility in Hungary. The analytical starting point of this paper differentiate between partnership trajectories and parenthood. The goal of the paper is the analysis in detail of changing partnership trajectories of youngsters in an East-Central European country after WW II, as well as specifying the added value of interpretation of sequence analysis data. Questions: 1)How has historically changed timing, sequencing and time duration of specific partnership statuses between age of 18 and 30 years? 2)What are the typical partnership trajectories of youngsters regarding ’similarity’ of timing, sequencing and duration? Hypotheses: Similarity patterns of partnership trajectories add some relevant aspects to the existing demographic knowledge of gender specific partnership formation during early adulthood. Differences in patterns of partnership trajectories can be explained by historical changes of family formation, by education level and/or entering first parenthood. Methods and data: sequence analysis (geometrical interpretation: Elzinga and Liefbroer 2007), in the Hungarian Generations and Gender Survey of partnership histories of people born between 1932–1971, binary logistic regression models (dependent variable=one typical trajectory versus all other patterns, independent variables=education level, age, first parenthood, interaction terms). Main findings: Sequence analysis adds to the gender specific interpretation of young family life paths. Pluralism has historical roots, but the prevalence of various partnership trajectories is rather balanced at the end of the XX century. Generation, education level and parenthood have changing explanatory power regarding the odds of different typical partnership trajectories. The odds of some trajectories are weakly dependent on generations and are rather explained by education level or parenthood. Other trajectories are rather age group specific patterns.

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Presented in Session 42: Modelling partner search and household formation