Partnership in Europe; its Variety, Trends and Dissolution
Radical changes in living arrangements, in sexual habits and in the position of marriage in Europe have arisen, very unevenly, since the 1960s and in some regions in scarcely more than a decade. Cohabitation before marriage is normal – even universal – in many countries, with the popularity of marriage falling as its mean age rises to beyond the highest levels hitherto recorded. Divorce has been legalised and in most cases made readily accessible. However, although not as firm a demarcation as once believed, Hajnal’s line separating East and West has not yet been erased from the map of contemporary Europe. The article describes patterns and trends in partnership in Europe, including trends in marriage rates, divorce rates, the spread of cohabitation, LAT-relations and of births outside marriage, and tries to account for them.