Volume 35 - Article 37 | Pages 1101–1134

The diversity in longitudinal partnership trajectories during the transition to adulthood: How is it related to individual characteristics and regional living conditions?

By Barbara Elisabeth Fulda

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:10 Jun 2016
Date published:14 Oct 2016
Word count:5429
Keywords:clusters, German Family Panel pairfam (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics), Germany, partnership history, quantum, sequence analysis, timing, transition to adulthood


Background: Previous research has concentrated on the quantum and timing of partnership statuses during the transition to adulthood, but it has however remained unclear how partnership trajectories unfold and how trajectories interdepend. It is furthermore unknown how individual characteristics and regional living conditions relate to the type of partnership trajectory an individual experiences.

Objective: By studying longitudinal partnership trajectories in a sequence analysis, this article examines the types of partnership trajectories that are observable between the ages of 15 and 40. It furthermore asks how individual characteristics and regional living conditions relate to the sequencing, timing, and quantum of partnership transitions. It finally shows how the turbulence in partnership trajectories relates to these factors.

Methods: I analyze the 1971-1973 birth cohort in the German Family Panel (pairfam).

Results: Partnership trajectories split up into four patterns. Educational level, gender, and ethnic background significantly influence the probability of experiencing one of these partnership trajectories. Urban residents experience greater diversity in partnership statuses and are single for longer periods than rural residents. Twenty-six years after Germany’s unification, socialization in eastern or western Germany still matters: Eastern Germans are more likely than western Germans to remain in a cohabitation until they are 40.

Contribution: This article presents novel evidence on the typical partnership trajectories of a recent cohort. It shows that partnership histories are closely linked to membership in a social group and socialization in an institutional setting. Only some social groups are prone to experiencing turbulent partnership histories.

Author's Affiliation

Barbara Elisabeth Fulda - Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Fertility progression in Germany: An analysis using flexible nonparametric cure survival models
Volume 35 - Article 18    | Keywords: Germany, quantum, timing

» The influence of the number of siblings on expected family size in a cohort of young adults in Germany
Volume 39 - Article 10    | Keywords: German Family Panel pairfam (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics), Germany

» How kinship systems and welfare regimes shape leaving home: A comparative study of the United States, Germany, Taiwan, and China
Volume 36 - Article 38    | Keywords: Germany, transition to adulthood

» Ethnic differences in family trajectories of young adult women in the Netherlands: Timing and sequencing of events
Volume 35 - Article 24    | Keywords: sequence analysis, transition to adulthood

» The timing of family commitments in the early work career: Work-family trajectories of young adults in Flanders
Volume 32 - Article 22    | Keywords: sequence analysis, timing


»Volume 35





Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID