Multistate cohort analysis with proportional transfer rates: an application to marriage, divorce, and remarriage

Robert Schoen, Pennsylvania State University
Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Pennsylvania State University

We describe a new approach for analyzing and synthesizing the behaviour of cohorts as they proceed through the life course. Assuming that age-state-specific rates of movement are proportional over age provides explicit mathematical relationships for the number of persons in each status at every age. The approach is then applied to a 3-state, non-hierarchical, model of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. An examination of current data for the United States indicates that the rates of first marriage, divorce, and remarriage are approximately proportional over age. Applying the proportional transfer rate model yields marital status trajectories over age, and allows analyses of the implications of changes in rate levels and patterns. A noteworthy finding is that contemporary high proportions married are only modestly sensitive to changes in marriage rates, but quite sensitive to changes in rates of remarriage and in the balance between rates of remarriage and divorce.

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Presented in Session 149: Mathematical and formal demography