MPIDR Working Paper

Italy’s non-negligible cohabitational unions

Gabrielli, G. G., Hoem, J. M.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2008-019, 16 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (June 2008)
Revised June 2009, former title: No take-off toward the Second Demographic Transition in Italian union formation
Open Access


Recent trends in official statistics show strong increases in non-marital cohabitation in younger Italian generations. Moreover, other sources suggest that consensual unions have lasted longer in recent years before they were converted into marriages. In the present paper we consider entry into marriage and entry into cohabitation as competing risks and study whether the (standardized) entry risk for cohabitation has overtaken that for marriage in Italy, much as in countries in Central and Eastern Europe that we have studied in earlier papers. We find that it has not, and conclude that the move toward the Second Demographic Transition has not taken off in Italy. We also find that the rise in the risk of entry into cohabitation is confined to Northern and Central Italy, while the risk of marriage formation has dropped both there and in Southern Italy. Perhaps Italy is a special case in the European context as far as union formation is concerned.
Keywords: Italy
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.