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Family Formation Trajectories in Romania, the Russian Federation and France: Towards the Second Demographic Transition?

Trajectoires de formation de la famille en Roumanie, en Fédération de Russie et en France: en direction de la Seconde Transition Démographique?

Abstract

This study examines family formation trajectories as a manifestation of the second demographic transition (SDT) in three countries, comparing and contrasting two post-socialist countries (Romania and the Russian Federation) with France as benchmark country advanced in the SDT. By examining combined partnership and fertility sequences and transcending the mainly descriptive nature of trajectory-based studies, the current study expands our knowledge by including key explanatory factors, such as cohort, country, and educational level. Pooled data from the Gender and Generations Survey (N = 30,197) is used to engage in sequence, optimal matching (OM), cluster and multinomial logistic regression analysis. Post-Communist cohorts are significantly more likely to engage in long-term cohabitation, childbearing within cohabitation or lone parenthood. Educational level operates differently across countries, with the highly educated in Romania and the Russian Federation less likely to follow certain de-standardized paths. Non-marital cohabitation with children is associated with lower education in all countries. Strong differences emerge between the shape and stages of the SDT in Romania and Russia, with Russians having a higher probability to experience childbearing within cohabitation, opposed to Romanians who follow childless marriage patterns or adopt postponement and singlehood. The three countries differ in their advancement in the SDT and factors shaping partnering and childbearing choices. We conclude that although the SDT remains a useful construct, it needs to be supplemented with more nuanced contextual accounts of socio-economic conditions.

Résumé

Cet article étudie les trajectoires de formation de la famille en tant qu’expression de la seconde transition démographique (STD) dans trois pays, comparant et contrastant deux pays postsocialistes (la Roumanie et la Fédération de Russie) avec la France, pays considéré comme référence pour son stade d’avancement dans la STD. En examinant conjointement les séquences d’union et de fécondité et en dépassant la nature essentiellement descriptive des études sur les trajectoires, cette étude inclut des facteurs explicatifs clés, tels que la cohorte, le pays, le niveau d’instruction, afin d’élargir les connaissances dans ce domaine. Des données intégrées des enquêtes Genre et Génération (N = 30.197) sont utilisées pour effectuer des analyses de séquences, d’appariement optimal, de regroupement, et de régression logistique multinomiale. Les individus appartenant aux cohortes dénommées « post-communistes » sont significativement plus susceptibles de s’engager dans des cohabitations de longue durée, d’avoir des enfants dans le cadre d’une cohabitation ou de constituer une famille monoparentale. L’impact du niveau d’instruction varie selon les pays. En Roumanie et dans la Fédération de Russie, les individus ayant les niveaux d’instruction les plus élevés sont moins susceptibles d’adopter des trajectoires plus marginales. La cohabitation sans mariage mais avec des enfants est associée à de plus faibles niveaux d’instruction dans les trois pays. D’importantes différences apparaissent tant au niveau des formes que des étapes de la STD entre la Roumanie et la Fédération de Russie, les russes présentant une probabilité plus élevée d’avoir des enfants dans le cadre d’une cohabitation, au contraire des roumains qui privilégient les mariages sans enfant ou postposent les naissances ou optent pour le célibat. Les trois pays différent dans leur stade d’avancement dans la STD et dans les facteurs qui façonnent leurs choix de mises en union et de procréation. En conclusion, bien que la STD demeure un cadre théorique utile, elle doit être enrichie et nuancée par la prise en compte des contextes socio-économiques.

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Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2009 ECSR Conference ‘Changing societies in the context of EU enlargement’ and the 2010 TransEurope Young Researcher Meeting ‘Flexibilization and Changing Life Course Patterns in a Globalizing Europe’. The research visit of Gina Potârcă at Sciences Po was suported by an European Science Foundation (ESF) exchange grant within the framework of the ‘TransEurope Research Network’ (Exchange Grant 2799). The research of Melinda Mills is supported by a grant from the NWO/Dutch Science Foundation (VIDI Grant 452-10-012). We are grateful for the constructive comments received from the anonymous reviewers and the Editor in addition to the comments from the Inequality and the Life-Course research group at the Department of Sociology, University of Groningen.

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Appendix

Appendix

See the Appendix Tables 8 and 9. See the Appendix Fig. 6.

Table 8 Descriptive statistics of sample used in the regression analysis
Table 9 Descriptive Statistics for each cluster, Percentage in each group
Fig. 6
figure6

Clusters of partnerships and fertility trajectories—20 clusters solution. Source: As for Fig. 1

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Potârcă, G., Mills, M. & Lesnard, L. Family Formation Trajectories in Romania, the Russian Federation and France: Towards the Second Demographic Transition?. Eur J Population 29, 69–101 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-012-9279-9

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Keywords

  • Partnerships and fertility trajectories
  • Young adulthood
  • Sequence analysis
  • Cross-national comparison

Mots clés

  • Trajectoires d’unions et de fécondité
  • Jeunes adultes
  • Analyse de séquence
  • Comparaisons transnationales