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Eur Sociol Rev. 1996 May;12(1):53-65.

The changing meaning of cohabitation and marriage.


"In the Netherlands, the social meaning of both marriage and cohabitation has changed. Cohabitation started as an alternative way of living, developed into a temporary phase before marriage, and finally became a strategy for moving into a union gradually.... This article addresses the question whether or not individual past and current life-course experiences become increasingly important in explaining the differentiation of entry into marriage across female birth cohorts, and yet become decreasingly important in explaining the differentiation of entry into cohabitation across female birth cohorts. This question is examined using a non-proportional hazard model. Empirical evidence supports this hypothesis strongly, in that both past determinants such as family size or religion and current life-course determinants such as work or education change in their impact on cohabitation and marriage across birth cohorts."


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