Partners and Parity: Fertility in Higher-Order Unions in Belgium and the U.S.

Sofie Vanassche, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
An Katrien Sodermans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Gray Swicegood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Our study investigates childbearing behavior in first and higher order unions focusing on recent experience in Belgium. For several reasons, this low country makes an excellent case for investigating the formation of step-families. Divorce rates are comparatively high rivaling those in the United States and cohabitation quite common. Building on prior research we examine the impact of step-children on subsequent parity transitions both in unions (cohabitations and re/marriages) and outside them. Our analysis will in the first instance rely on the Panel Study of Belgian Households(PSBH). The PSBH is a panel study that began in 1992 and 10 subsequent surveys of the original panel were fielded through 2002. Relevant comparisons with US experiences will be presented.

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Presented in Poster Session 2