By Vianney Costemalle, Amy Jacobs-Colas
Conjugal and family trajectories have become more diverse since the early 1950s, partly due to increases in divorce and separation. Yet, few studies have focused specifically on second cohabiting relationships. This short paper uses data from the EPIC survey on individual and conjugal trajectories in metropolitan France (Etude des parcours individuels et conjugaux, INED–INSEE, 2013–2014) to identify some of the main features of second couples. We do so by analysing the differences between the first and second partners’ characteristics and the stability of second unions, particularly as they relate to the respondents’ and their second partners’ family pasts. Usually, a respondent’s second partner is younger than their first, belongs to a different social category than the first, and has, like the respondent, already been in a union. Moreover, when both respondent and second partner have already had children separately, the risk of separation is greater, and the couple is less likely to have their own children.