Cohabitation: transitions in relationship status and economic well-being

Lynda Clarke and Julian Buxton, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

[Project number 30107]

There are four areas for investigation, listed below in order of priority:

1. Death

a) Deaths amongst those cohabiting at 1991 and 2001 would be analysed by broad age groups, identifying gender, presence of dependent children in the household, housing tenure and economic activity of both deceased and (presumed) surviving partner.

b) It has been considered whether we ought to confine the study to deaths occurring within a year or so of the census to try to minimise the uncertainty around whether the relationship reported at the census was ongoing at the date of death, but that would produce very small numbers. The alternative proposal - analysing the whole sample - would give maximum numbers, but with diminishing reliability. That problem could be managed to some extent by breaking down the results into bands according to how far from the census date the death occurred, and so how less reliable the assumption of death during cohabitation was. We would thus get the total figure, but also know at what point the data becomes less reliable and so qualify our reliance on it accordingly.

2. Same-sex couples

a) The 2001 Census was the first to ask a direct question about same-sex couple relationships. It might nevertheless be possible to get some sense of long-term same-sex relationships by looking back at returns for 1991 to see what the household composition was at that point. But it would not often be possible to be certain whether the other person in the household was the same person in 1991 and 2001.

b) These individuals could be analysed by reference to age, economic status, socio-economic position and housing tenure. It would be relatively a small sample (at most 1% of c78,500 - see table UV93 from Census 2001), but still probably the largest demographic analysis of same-sex couples to date.

3. Relationship status transitions

a) We will examine socio-economic status, economic activity and housing tenure of cohabiting couples at 1991 and 2001 by age group, gender, whether had a child at the previous and current census (which could be bracketed by age, eg 0-4, 5-9, 10-15, 16-18), presence of children in the household.

b) We will examine transitions from one relationship (status) to another from 1991 to 2001.

c) The sample would additionally be analysed for this purpose by reference to age group, gender, whether had a child at the previous and current census (which could be bracketed by age, eg 0-4, 5-9, 10-15, 16-18), presence of children in the household.

4. Economic status

a) We will examine the economic activity of men and women, by relationship status, and seek to identify changes in economic activity coincident with relationship status and presence of children.

Top of page