Civil and Religious Marriage in France: Why Do Opinions and Practices Diverge across Cohorts?

France Prioux, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Arnaud Régnier-Loilier, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The frequency of marriage has declined sharply in France, and the proportion of Catholic church weddings is decreasing likewise. But there is a large discrepancy between the marriage statistics of successive cohorts and the opinions on marriage expressed by these same cohorts recorded in 2005 (first wave of the French GGS survey). For example, the proportion of persons who consider that marriage is not an outdated institution is practically stable, whatever the age or cohort. In this study, we use regression techniques to show that, apart from religious practice, opinions on marriage depend on past conjugal history (whether or not respondents have previous experience of marriage or separation). We then link changes of opinion among respondents who participated in the first two survey waves to the family events that occurred between 2005 and 2008 to show that opinions about marriage are liable to change in response to life experiences.

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Presented in Poster Session 2