Living apart together in Spain. Different meanings according to life stage: Choice or constraints?

Momoko Nishikido, Queen's University Belfast
Teresa Castro Martin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (csic)

In 2019, over half of Spanish women and two-thirds of Spanish men in prime reproductive ages (25-34) were not co-residing with a partner. One in four women and five men between these ages, however, had an intimate partner that lived in a separate household, and thus, were in living-apart-together (LAT) relationships. Revisiting Castro-Martin and colleagues (2008), we examine the role of LAT relationships in present-day Spain. Based on the 2018 Spanish Fertility Survey, we study the prevalence, determinants, and meaning of LAT relationships with respect to cohabitation and marriage using multinomial logistic regressions. We extend the previous study by including men, women aged 35-55, and short-term intentions to cohabit/marry. The paper provides an update of nearly two decades, during which much has changed around the family and family formation. Preliminary findings show LAT is most common among young adults who reside in their parental home and have a tertiary-level education, particularly as a transitory stage preceding cohabitation due to economic constraints. LAT is also relatively common among older women and men who had previously cohabited or had a child from a previous relationship—predominantly to maintain independence. Men’s financial stability also appears to be an important driver for couples’ cohabitation.

Keywords: Family demography, Gender, Demographic and social surveys

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 64. Different Pathways to Residential and Non-residential Partnerships