Regional Diffusion of Divorce in Turkey

K. Caarls, H.A.G. de Valk

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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While demographic change has been well documented for many Western countries, much less is known about demographic transitions in other countries, including Turkey. Demographic change in European societies can be characterized by, amongst others, increased prevalence of divorce. Although it is often argued that life courses in Turkey follow a more traditional path, little is known on determinants and patterns of divorce, despite the major socioeconomic changes Turkey has undergone over the past decades. We study the levels of divorce of women in Turkey from 1973 to 2008 to explain patterns of divorce, looking at the role of individual characteristics and the regional context. We use the Demographic Health Surveys (2003/2008), complemented with regional data on divorce, urbanization, and GDP per capita. Applying a multilevel approach, distinguishing 12 regions, we hypothesize that regions where divorce is already more prevalent, more urbanized regions, and wealthier regions in terms of GDP per capita will increase the probability of divorce. Our analyses show that levels of divorce increased over the past decades but huge regional variation remains. Sociocultural and socioeconomic factors explain this trend, and in particular urbanization and GDP per capita are key determinants for divorce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609–636
JournalEuropean Journal of Population
Issue number4
Early online date03 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • SSCI
  • divorce
  • Turkey
  • regional context
  • multilevel
  • event history analysis

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