English title: The increase in cohabitation and the role of marital status in family policies: a comparison of 12 European countries

Author(s): Nora Sanchez Gassen - Brienna Perelli-Harris -

Language: English

Type: Report, working paper

Year: 2014

Abstract

The role of marital status is seldom considered in welfare state research. This perspective however is important, since many welfare state policies focus on the married and do not apply to unmarried cohabitants. This may render them vulnerable in moments when state support is needed. Since cohabitation levels are increasing across Europe, understanding the role of marital status in welfare state policies becomes increasingly important. By analysing data from the European Social Survey and a self-constructed policy database, we answer three questions: 1) How many couples live in cohabiting unions across 12 European countries today? 2) Which rights do they have in different policy areas? 3) How many couples, therefore, are covered or fall outside the scope of policies in their country? We find that cohabitation is often, but not always, more strongly regulated in countries with high cohabitation levels, leaving more cohabitants legally unprotected in some countries than in others.

Edition: 0

Institution: ESRC Centre for Population Change

Number of pages: 0

Number: 52

Series: ESRC Centre for Population Change Working Paper Series