Decomposition of Trends in Non-Marital Childbearing in Poland

Short paper
By Anna Baranowska-Rataj

The aim of this paper is to decompose the increase in the share of out-of-wedlock births in Poland into two components: one attributed to the changing structure of births based on marital status at conception, and one related to the declining propensity for shotgun weddings. Analysis of data from the Birth Register 1985-2009 shows that a decline in the propensity to marry among single pregnant women played an important role in the diffusion of non-marital childbearing, especially in the last decade. In urban areas, the impact of the declining propensity for shotgun weddings was greater than in rural areas. This is consistent with the notion that rural areas are a more traditional context for family formation. It seems that in villages, social pressure still inhibits the diversification of family forms more strongly than in cities.


  • non-marital childbearing
  • out-of-wedlock births
  • shotgun weddings
  • rural population
  • register-based research
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