Marital Status and Population Projections

Prinz, C. (1991). Marital Status and Population Projections. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-91-012

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Is marital status a disappearing issue? Reading demographic literature one may get the impression that information on marital status no longer helps to explain demographic phenomena, at least in industrialized countries. The argument is that legal marital status differs strongly from actual living arrangements for, as an example, an increasing number of people prefer to live in a consensual union instead of getting married. The aim of this research is to answer the question whether it is still useful to analyze the populations past and possible future marital status composition.

We cannot refuse to believe in the continued increase of non-traditional living arrangements that are a consequence of changing values and attitudes. This, however, does not mean that legal marital status analysis has become obsolete. Analysis for different industrialized countries even demonstrates the opposite. In the recent past, that is the period 1960-1985, changes in the marital composition became increasingly important for explaining various demographic processes. Fertility changes were more and more due to the increase in the proportion of non-married people. Similarly, household changes could more and more be attributed to changes in the marital structure of the population. Both are demonstrated by decomposition analysis. Furthermore, using marital status information for population projections results in significant differences already in the short run.

Consequently, when analyzing demographic changes or projecting populations and households, demographers should even now regard legal marital status as one of their main input variables.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:01
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:14

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