Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book Section - Consensual Unions in Central America: Historical Continuities and New Emerging Patterns
Title Cohabitation and Marriage in the Americas: Geo-historical Legacies and New Trends
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 157-185
Publisher Springer
URL https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-31442-6_6/fulltext.html
entral America has a long history of family formation via consensual union instead of formal marriage. The historically high levels of cohabitation have persisted throughout the twentieth century up to the present day and can be traced in the remarkably high levels of nonmarital childbearing in the region. This chapter reviews past and recent trends in the prevalence of consensual unions in six Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama – in order to ascertain whether cohabitation has reached an upper ceiling in the region and whether the apparent stability at the aggregate level conceals significant changes in cohabiting patterns across social groups. The analyses reveal that the expansion of cohabitation has not come to an end so far, largely because of the recent increase in consensual unions among the higher educated strata. The historically negative educational gradient of cohabitation remains largely in place, but differentials in union patterns across countries and across social groups have narrowed considerably in the past two decades.

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