The diverse nature of living apart together relationships: an Italy–France comparison
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This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the nature of living apart together (LAT) relationships by focusing on two contrasting family settings: France and Italy. First, we corroborate the view that being “single” in residential terms does not mean being “without a partner” in relationship terms. To assume otherwise would be an erroneous characterisation of more than one quarter of the individuals in both countries. Second, our findings cannot be reconciled with any notion of a simple, uniform, and uni-directional view of LAT relationships. In Italy, LAT relationships are popular in the early phases of the life course, when young adults must often face difficult economic situations as well as social pressure to marry. In France, LAT relationships are more the result of a conscious choice, especially in later phases of the life course. We discuss these results in light of the second demographic transition narrative.
KeywordsLiving apart together relationships Cohabitation Italy France Generations and gender survey
Arnaud Régnier-Loilier acknowledges the Direction des relations internationals et des partenariats (Department of International Relations and Partnerships) of the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) for funding his research visit at the Department of Statistics, Informatics, Applications “Giuseppe Parenti” (DiSIA), of the University of Florence. He also thanks the faculty of DiSIA for their hospitality. Daniele Vignoli acknowledges the financial support provided by the strategic project “Families and Well-being in Italy: Dynamics and Relationships”, financed by the University of Florence (PI: Daniele Vignoli). The French version of the Generations and Gender Survey was funded by INED and INSEE (the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies), with the support of the ANR (French National Research Agency), the CNAF (French National Family Allowance Fund), the CNAV (French National Old-Age Pension Fund), the DARES (Directorate for the Coordination of Research, Studies and Statistics), the DREES (Directorate for Research and Statistical Studies) and the COR (Pensions Advisory Council).
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