Can we take them at their words? Cohabitors’ marriage intentions and subsequent marital behavior in Norway

Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik, Statistics Norway
Torkild H. Lyngstad, University of Oslo
Turid Noack, Statistics Norway

Using a unique combination of survey data and register data, this paper investigates the correspondence between cohabitors’ marriage intentions (as stated in a representative survey) and their subsequent actual behavior (as shown by marital histories from official registers five years later) in Norway. In particular, we will investigate what groups of cohabitors fulfill their marriage intentions. Methodologically, the follow-up approach taken allows us to investigate how powerful marriage intentions are as predictors of future marital behavior. Preliminary analyses show that 38% of cohabitors were planning to marry their partners. Of these, 15% had concrete marriage plans, i.e. planned to marry their partners within two years after the survey was taken, whereas the remaining 23% were planning to marry eventually. In order to grant respondents’ time to fulfill their intentions, 5-year follow-up data from administrative registers will be linked to the survey data at the beginning of 2009.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children