Cohabitation and human development in Latin America

Maira Covre-Sussai, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

This study investigates the macro-level association between socioeconomic development and the prevalence of unmarried cohabitation by social class in Latin America. To this end, we use recently released harmonized microdata from 15 Latin American countries, spanning from 1980 to 2010. First, we examine the prevalence of cohabitation by social class, using educational attainment as a proxy. Second, we study the correlation between the level of cohabitation and a selection of indicators on human development and social and gender inequalities. We expect and show that the level of cohabitation in each social class does not correlate in the same manner with the macro socioeconomic indicators. Countries with the highest rates of cohabitation among the lowest educated women are characterized by low levels of socioeconomic development and high levels of gender inequality. By contrast, the highest rates of cohabitation among the most educated women are typically found in countries with high levels of socioeconomic development and low levels of gender inequality.

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Presented in Session 37: Socioeconomic well-being of partnership