Does the Hajnal line persist in 21st century Europe?

Chris Tencza, University of Pennsylvania
Thomas Anderson, University of Pennsylvania

Running diagonally through Europe from St. Petersburg to Trieste, the "Hajnal line" illustrates the centuries-old geographic division in European marriage patterns. No study has empirically tested whether this geographical division persists in the 21st century. Furthermore, no study has taken a cross-national, over-time approach in looking at changes in family values. We use latent class analysis to dichotomize individuals based on responses to a set of categorical questions from the European Values Survey (EVS) pertaining to views on family formation.This procedure gives us two important sets of results: the item response probabilities conditional on class membership and the estimated class membership proportions by year and country. Our findings illustrate that a division in values related to marriage analogous to the Hajnal line persists in Europe in the 21st century. In addition, our temporal analysis finds increasing deinstitutionalization of views on marriage in every country analyzed.

  See paper

Presented in Session 60: Special thematic session on family systems and transitions