Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Recently, the western world has witnessed among young cohorts a significant rise in both cohabitation and out of wedlock births as well as an increasingly complex relationship between marriage and childbirth. This study follows previous investigations conducted by Blossfeld and colleagues [1] on the experience of pregnancy within cohabiting unions and how it conditions the likelihood of transition to formal marriage with the same partners. A hazard model with time-varying covariates is specified explicitly as time-dependent, with entry into first marriage as the dependent process and first pregnancy/birth as the explaining process. Our conceptual framework relies on the rational actor theory, which proposes that norm-guided and rational self-centred behaviour co-exist in the case when a pregnancy occurs in a consensual union and a decision is to be made by the couple with respect to marriage or non-marriage. Our test of this interrelated process is based on the experiences of Canada, Latvia, and the Neth erlands. Findings suggest that the interdependencies of cohabitation, pregnancy, and marriage fit the model and are generally uniform processes across these societies. Slight country differences are attributed to attitudes and policies regarding cohabitation versus marriage and the acceptability of out of wedlock births.

Original publication




Journal article


Statistical Journal of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Publication Date





103 - 118