Explaining Municipal Differences in Union Dissolution Rates Among Married and Cohabiting Couples

Willem R. J. Vermeulen , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Mioara Zoutewelle-Terovan , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Niels Kooiman , Statistics Netherlands
Aart C. Liefbroer , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Research has shown that divorce rates differ considerably across municipalities in the Netherlands. Given the large increase in cohabitation over the past decades, this study expands our understanding of whether municipal differences can also be observed in the union dissolution rates of cohabitants. Additionally, this research examines whether the role of contextual factors important in explaining union dissolution variation in divorce behavior can also explain variation in the dissolution of cohabiting unions. Based on existing theoretical explanations, a number of potential important factors are examined, such as financial uncertainty, gender roles, union formation norms, social ties and demographic composition. For this study, we use register data from Statistics Netherlands (2017-2018) and construct unique union dissolution information per union type (distinguishing between married couples, cohabiting couples and registered partnerships) for 355 Dutch municipalities. All explanatory factors in our model are defined using publicly available municipal-level variables provided by Statistics Netherlands. Spatial modeling is used to analyze differences in union dissolution rates across different types of relationships.

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 Presented in Session 37. Divorce determinants