The study aims to assess, first, whether there is a gap in well-being between unmarried cohabitants and the married, second, if selection factors can explain this so-called cohabitation gap, and third, if the size of the cohabitation gap differs across countries and how this can be explained.We use pooled data from young adults (18 – 44) in 3 rounds of the European Social Survey (N ≈ 31,500). Multilevel regression analyses show that there is a moderate cohabitation gap that can be partly explained with the selection factors material resources and religiosity. Country differences were clear and could partly be explained with the level of institutionalization: In countries where cohabitation is more accepted and more prevalent, the cohabitation gap is smaller.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Journal publication date2009

ID: 378316