Change and variation in men’s and women’s repartnership patterns across Europe

Megan M. Sweeney, University of California, Los Angeles
Anne-Rigt Poortman, Utrecht University
Karra Greenberg, University of California, Los Angeles

Rising divorce rates across Europe have intensified interest in patterns of repartnership, which is associated with improvements in well-being and economic security after a first marriage ends. Although these benefits of repartnership tend to be greater for women than for men – at least in part due to the larger economic decline experienced by women upon divorce -- it is men who are generally most likely to repartner in industrialized counties. Growth in men’s responsibilities for childcare and shifts in the labor market positions of both sexes, however, may be fundamentally reshaping the gendered nature of repartnership. Little work explicitly investigates whether the gender gap in re-partnership has changed over time or whether key correlates of repartnership (e.g., education level, prior childbearing, and age at separation) similarly influence higher-order union transitions among women and men. In the current research, we examine trends and differentials in repartnership after separation or divorce using data from available counties in the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP). We address a number of specific questions in this research about the nature of repartnership in our study countries. First, have patterns of repartnership changed over time in our study countries? Second, do repartnership patterns vary by education level, history of prior childbearing, or age at separation? Finally, are the answers to these questions similar for men and for women? In other words, to what extent is repartnership gendered in our study countries? Throughout the analysis, we focus on three distinct reparternship transitions: (a) legal remarriage after a first marriage ends in separation or divorce, (b) any new co-residential partnership after a first marriage ends in separation or divorce, and (c) any new co-residential partnership after a first coresidential partnership ends in separation or divorce.

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 Presented in Session 102. Marriage and repartnering