Informal and Formal Union Formation in Three Central American Countries

Kathryn Grace, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Stuart H. Sweeney, University of California, Santa Barbara

Research of union formation trends has recently become more popular in demographic and population research. Increasing rates of cohabitation are defining components of the second demographic transition, while in the United States they occur more frequently among women with less education. In Central America, informal union formation is over 50% in some regions, yet research on union formation determinants is scant. Research has shown the significant role of the partner in determining contraceptive use and completed family size; however, it is not clear if the high fertility, low contraceptive use and high infant mortality- characteristic of much of the area- are related to the high rates of cohabitation/informal union. The purpose of this research is to model individual formal/informal union formation in three Central American countries, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, using a competing risks hazard-analysis.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 178: Comparative Perspectives on Union Formation