Sociodemographic differences in partnership behaviour strategies: the forerunners of cohabitation inLithuania

Vlada Stankuniene, Institute for Social Research (ISR), Vilnius
Ausra Maslauskaite, Institute for Social Research
Mare Baublyte, Institute for Social Research
Vaida Tretjakova, Institute for Social Research

Since the beginning of the 1990s, like in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, rapid family transformations started in Lithuania: decrease of marriage rates, postponement and “ageing” of marriage, spread of cohabitation, postponement of fertility, transition to very low fertility, increase of extra marital births, etc. They might lead to a conclusion that second demographic transition, which had started in the North and West European countries about four decades ago, followed by the South European countries some time later, has, since the 1990s, turned towards the Central and Eastern Europe. Regardless of the centrality of the emerging new forms of partnership formation in the family transformation process, up till recently there were no sufficient data for the deeper analysis of this phenomenon in Lithuania. The paper will be essentially based on the Lithuanian Gender and Generation Survey and on the Population Census 2001 data. The research aims to explore the changes in family formation strategies and patterns, with specific focus on cohabitation, in the life course perspective. By employing event history analysis the individual decision to form a certain type of partnership is controlled by the intergenerational (parental divorce, family background, parental family household structure) and the individual (educational attainment, urban-rural, social class, values, and gender attitudes) factors. Preliminary results indicate that the family transformation process in Lithuania is more complex than in North and West Europe, contradictory and has a paradoxical nature. It was found that the individuals most eager to adopt new patterns of partnership formation form very selective groups, distinguishable by their social, economical and cultural characteristics. On the other hand, individuals lacking certain qualities become marginalized and are pushed out of the “partnership” market.

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Presented in Session 12: Inter-Generational Transmission of Values and Demographic Behaviour