How Fertility and Union Stability Interact in Defining New Family Patterns in Italy and Spain

Lucia Coppola, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Mariachiara Di Cesare, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

Italy and Spain represent the "Mediterranean Model" for their peculiars demographic trends. We focus on fertility, that in these two countries has achieved "lowest-low" levels, and union instability, that is still at very low levels. These two processes are of particular interest in Italy and Spain, very similar in terms of welfare state and institutions. We consider the processes of fertility and union dissolution as two interrelated life trajectories. The analysis is based on the 1996 Fertility and Family Survey data for Italy and Spain. Results show how union dissolution strongly and significantly affects the risk of childbearing in both countries. Fertility affects the union stability, in fact each further childbearing decreases the risk of union dissolution. Results show the existence of a strong reverse causation between union dissolution and fertility, because the outcome of each process has a significant effect on the risk of experiencing the other.

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Presented in Session 66: Union Dissolution