Types of cohabitation in Latin America

Maira Covre-Sussai, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The coexistence of marriages and consensual unions is a historical feature of nuptiality in Latin America, but with different meanings from those observed in developed countries. Traditionally, cohabitation is common in less developed regions, rural areas, among the lower and less educated social classes. However, the incidence of cohabitation is increasing Latin America, in social groups and countries where it was never common. The features and meaning of consensual unions for Latin American most developed regions and upper social classes remains quite unclear, but there are evidences that the connotation of this innovative way is closer to those observed in developed countries, denoting a trial period before marriage or an alternative to singlehood. This study uses Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for ten Latin American countries to differentiate the types of cohabitation in Latin America. Patterns of union formation, childbearing, dissolution and religiosity are explored through Latent Class Analysis. Two different types of cohabitation are expected: one named as traditional, related to poverty, social exclusion and women subordination and another, named as innovative, related to socio-economic development, secularization and women autonomy.

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Presented in Session 61: Cohabitation