Is the Second Demographic Transition Coming to North America or just to Quebec? The Changing Effect of Children on the Stability of Nonmarital Cohabitation in the US and Canada

Pierre Turcotte, Statistics Canada
Pascale Beaupré, Statistics Canada
Fran Goldscheider, Brown University

Cohabitation is not only a rapidly spreading phenomenon, it is a rapidly evolving one, with reversals in selectivity (from the more to the less educated) and evidence of increased likelihood of childbearing in such unions. How stable are cohabiting unions with children? US children conceived during cohabitation (but born in marriage) increase union stability while children conceived and born during cohabitation do not. In Quebec, however, recently created cohabiting unions with children are more stable than those created in the 70s and 80s. Could Quebec, with its long tradition of cohabitation, now be at a different stage of its “Second Demographic Transition”? Data are drawn from two nationally representative surveys, the 2001 Canadian GSS and the 2002 US NSFG. The analysis uses measures of both stable and time-varying characteristics and Cox regression. Given our focus on change, we highlight differences in union stability for women entering motherhood at different periods.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being