MPIDR Working Paper

Is Poland really 'immune' to the spread of cohabitation?

Matysiak, A.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-012, 16 Seiten (April 2009).
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

Published in Demographic Research 21:8, 215-234 (2009)


Various data have constantly pointed out a low incidence of non-marital unions in Poland (at 1.4-4.9% among all unions). In this paper we demonstrate that these data, coming exclusively from cross-sectional surveys, clearly underestimate the scale of the phenomenon. By exploiting data on partnership histories we show that young Poles have been increasingly opting for cohabitation. Consequently, in the years 2004-2006 entries to cohabitation constituted about one third of all first union entries. Consensual unions are more widespread among the low social strata, but recently a clear increase in cohabitation has been observed also among the highly educated. Although the estimates of cohabitation incidence are far below those observed in Northern and Western Europe, our study suggests that Poland is not as ‘immune’ to the spread of consensual unions as it is commonly believed.