Waltz of the couples: change partners, please.
- ISSN: 10148485
- PubMed: 12222231
Marriage, cohabitation, and divorce all concern family planners, sex educators, and health educators because of their impact on childbearing. Marriage has changed in the last 2-3 decades as more couples decide to permanently cohabit or cohabit before marriage, marriage rates have fallen and 1st marriages occur later, more women have become single mothers, and divorce has increased. Divorced individuals usually remarry, especially the younger ones, although the rate for remarriage has declined sharply in the last 20 years. Evidence suggests that cohabitation is highest among the separated and divorced (apparently slowing their remarriage rate), and is lowest among the single and widowed. The highest rate for women cohabiting is invariably found in the early 20's age group: between 3-4 in every 10 in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden and between 1-2 in every 10 in Switzerland, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands. In Ireland, Italy, and Belgium, the rate is comparatively low, suggesting wide variations between European countries. The changes in marriage are "most pronounced in the north of Europe, followed by the west, and least pronounced in the east and the south." These patterns most likely will continue for the immediate future, although divorce may be stabilizing at relatively high rates, in some European countries.