Contemporary union formation in Bulgaria: the emergence of cohabitation

Elena Koytcheva, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The most prominent demographic changes in the last decade in Bulgaria concern fertility and family formation. This paper examines the specificity of the interrelation between these processes and the emergence of a new type of union formation – cohabitation. The high level of out-of-wedlock births (42%) shows that there is less societal pressure to enter a marriage when a conception occurs or a baby is born. Do these changes speak in favour of an ongoing Second Demographic Transition? We analyze these trends using recent data from the “Social Capital Survey” 2002. Our results show that people who cohabit have lower education, most often come from the Roma ethnic group, have many siblings, live in rural areas, and there is no correlation to religiosity observed. We conclude that the process of value changes and diffusion of new ideas intervenes with many other factors on the macro level, especially the economic uncertainty.

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Presented in Session 34: The ongoing nuptiality transition in developed countries