Volume 61, Part 3, November 2007

Author: Matthijs Kalmijn
Title: Explaining cross-national differences in marriage, cohabitation, and divorce in Europe, 1990-2000

European countries differ considerably in their marriage patterns. The study presented in this paper describes these differences for the 1990s and attempts to explain them from a macro-level perspective.

We find that different indicators of marriage (i.e., marriage rate, age at marriage, divorce rate, and prevalence of unmarried cohabitation) cannot be seen as indicators of an underlying concept such as the 'strength of marriage'. Multivariate ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analyses are estimated with countries as units and panel regression models are estimated in which annual time series for multiple countries are pooled.

Using these models, we find that popular explanations of trends in the indicators - explanations that focus on gender roles, secularization, unemployment, and educational expansion - are also important for understanding differences among countries. We also find evidence for the role of historical continuity and societal disintegration in understanding cross-national differences.

Keywords: marriage; cohabitation; divorce; Europe; secularization
pp. 243-263.

Authors: Hill Kulu; Andres Vikat; Gunnar Andersson
Title: Settlement size and fertility in the Nordic countries

While the variation in childbearing patterns across countries and between socio-economic groups within a country has been studied in detail, less is known about the differences in fertility patterns across settlements within a country. Using aggregate and individual-level register data, we examine fertility variation across settlements in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. We observe a significant variation in fertility level by settlement size in all four of these Nordic countries - the larger the settlement, the lower the fertility. Second, the variation in fertility level has decreased over time, but significant differences in fertility between settlements of different size persist. Third, the timing of childbearing also varies across settlements - the larger the settlement, the later the peak of fertility. Fourth, our analysis of parity-specific fertility in Sweden shows that the major socio-economic characteristics of women account for only a small portion of fertility variation across settlements. 

Keywords: fertility; urbanization; settlement size; event-history analysis; Nordic countries
pp. 265-285.

Authors: Michael Murphy; Emily Grundy; Stamatis Kalogirou
Title: The increase in marital status differences in mortality up to the oldest age in seven European countries, 1990-99

We investigate mortality differentials by marital status among older age groups using a database of mortality rates by marital status at ages 40 and over for seven European countries with 1 billion person-years of exposure. The mortality advantage of married people, both men and women, continues to increase up to at least the age group 85-89, the oldest group we are able to consider. We find the largest absolute differences in mortality levels between marital status groups are at high ages, and that absolute differentials are: (i) greater for men than for women; (ii) similar in magnitude across countries; (iii) increase steadily with age; and (iv) are greatest at older age. We also find that the advantage enjoyed by married people increased over the 1990s in almost all cases. We note that results for groups such as older divorced women need to be interpreted with caution.

Keywords: mortality; Europe; older people; marital status; time series; vital statistics
pp. 287-298. 

Authors: Elina Nihtilä; Pekka Martikainen
Title: Household income and other socio-economic determinants of long-term institutional care among older adults in Finland 

An analysis of longitudinal data on Finnish older adults shows that the probability of admission to long-term institutional care is inversely associated with household income: women in the lowest income quintile are 35 per cent more likely, and men in the lowest quintile 59 per cent more likely to be admitted than those in the highest quintile, independently of age, first language, and area characteristics. Controlling for other socio-demographic characteristics and medical conditions reduces these differences by 59 and 78 per cent, respectively. Being a renter and living in poorly equipped housing increases the probability of admission to institutional care, while the possession of a car and living in a detached house decreases it, independently of other factors. These results imply that the future need for institutional care will depend not only on the increasing numbers of older people but also on socio-economic factors and housing conditions.  

Keywords: institutionalization; institutional care; income; aged; population register; prospective studies; Finland 
pp. 299-314.

Authors: Fanny Janssen; Anton Kunst
Title: The choice among past trends as a basis for the prediction of future trends in old-age mortality

We explored the extent to which projections of future old-age mortality trends differ when different projection bases are used. For seven European countries, four alternative sets of annual rates of mortality change were estimated with age-period log-linear regression models, and subsequently applied to age-specific all-cause mortality rates (80+) in 1999 to predict mortality levels up to 2050. On average, up to 2050, e80 is predicted to increase further by 2.33 years among men and 4.03 years among women. Choosing a historical period of 25 instead of 50 years results in higher predicted gains in e80 for men but lower gains for women. Choosing non-smoking-related mortality instead of all-cause mortality leads to higher gains for women and mixed results for men. In all alternatives there is a strong divergence of predicted mortality levels between the countries. Future projections should be preceded by a thorough study of past trends and their determinants.

Keywords: mortality; elderly; projection; life expectancy; Europe 
pp. 315-326

Authors: Victoria Hosegood; Sian Floyd; Milly Marston; Caterina Hill; Nuala McGrath; Raphael Isingo; Amelia Crampin; Basia Zaba 
The effects of high HIV prevalence on orphanhood and living arrangements of children in Malawi, Tanzania, and South Africa| (open access)

Using longitudinal data from three demographic surveillance systems (DSS) and a retrospective cohort study, we estimate levels and trends in the prevalence and incidence of orphanhood in South Africa, Tanzania, and Malawi in the period 1988-2004.

The prevalence of maternal, paternal, and double orphans rose in all three populations. In South Africa - where the HIV epidemic started later, has been very severe, and has not yet stabilized - the incidence of orphanhood among children is double that of the other populations. The living arrangements of children vary considerably between the populations, particularly in relation to fathers.

Patterns of marriage, migration, and adult mortality influence the living and care arrangements of orphans and non-orphans. DSS data provide new insights into the impact of adult mortality on children, challenging several widely held assumptions. For example, we find no evidence that the prevalence of child-headed households is significant or has increased in the three study areas.

Keywords: HIV; AIDS; orphans; living arrangements; longitudinal studies; sub-Saharan Africa
pp. 327-336.