Journal Article

Nichteheliche Mutterschaft und soziale Ungleichheit im familialistischen Wohlfahrtsstaat: zur sozioökonomischen Differenzierung der Familienformen in Ost- und Westdeutschland

Konietzka, D., Kreyenfeld, M. R.
Non-marital motherhood and social inequality in a familialistic welfare regime: socio-economic differentiation of family forms in East and West Germany
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 57:1, 32–61 (2005)


In the 1990s, non-marital motherhood has become more common in western and particularly in eastern Germany. The German familialistic welfare regime favours married couples, and, furthermore, treats single mothers differently from cohabiting mothers. Against this background, one would expect that married, cohabiting and single mothers differ by socio-economic characteristics and by the way they rely on partner income, transfers and own employment for their subsistence. Evidence from the German micro-census 1991 to 2000 gives partial support for this hypothesis. Single mother are poorly educated and frequently rely on public transfers. In western Germany, mothers in non-marital unions are more often highly educated and employed full-time than married mothers. In eastern Germany, married mothers and those in marital unions do not differ by educational status nor by their employment behaviour. Even married mothers are rarely dependent on the partner income for their subsistence. The economic independence of married mothers is a central characteristic of family change in eastern Germany, and it contributes to persistent east-west-differences in the economic foundation of families.
Keywords: Germany, marriage
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