Family Formation Trajectories and Cohort Change among Sexual Minorities

Ariane Ophir , Centre for Demographic Studies (CED)
Diederik Boertien , Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Sergi Vidal , Centre for Demographic Studies

The life courses of sexual minorities have been relatively absent from demographic research. In addition, existing studies are predominantly based on same-sex couples, which hinders the generalizability to the general sexual minority population and overlooks spells of childlessness and/or singlehood as part of family formation pathways. In this paper, we take advantage of the incorporation of questions on sexuality in large-scale surveys containing information on parenthood and relationship histories. Using sequence analysis, we document cross-cohort change in the parenting and partnering trajectories of bisexual, gay/lesbian, and heterosexual women and men in Britain. Preliminary results suggest that a considerable share of gay/lesbian individuals from older cohorts did not form a residential union by age 40, but this share has considerably increased in recent cohorts. Also, parenthood was more common in older cohorts, declined, and subsequently increased in recent cohorts among gay/lesbian individuals but increased steadily across cohorts for bisexual individuals.

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 Presented in Session 11. Flash session: intersections of family formation and employment during the life course