MPIDR Working Paper

Meanings and attitudes attached to cohabitation in Poland: qualitative analyses of the slow diffusion of cohabitation among the young generation

Mynarska, M. A., Bernardi, L.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2007-006, 33 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (January 2007)
Also published in: Demographic Research 16:17, 519-554 (2007). Internet:
Open Access


This study contributes to the understanding of the low level of non-marital cohabitations in Poland at the beginning of the XXI century. We employ interpretative analysis of semi-structured interviews in order to capture the meanings and attitudes associated to non-marital cohabitation by a selected sample of young Poles. Results indicate that although cohabitation has begun to be interpreted as a testing period leading to marriage, attitudes towards it are still very ambiguous. The idealization of marital commitment hinders the spread of informal unions. Understanding the determinants of the low cohabitation rate in Poland enable us to advance grounded hypotheses on its evolution in the near future and, more generally, to illustrate the ways in which local cultures influence the diffusion of behaviors.
Keywords: Poland, attitude, cohabitation, qualitative methods
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