Social Class and First Divorce in Lithuania

Domantas Jasilionis, Demographic Research Centre, Vytautas Magnus University
Vlada Stankuniene, Demographic Research Centre Vytautas Magnus University
Aiva Jasilioniene, Demographic Research Centre, Vytautas Magnus University
Ausra Maslauskaite, Demographic Research Centre, Vytautas Magnus University

This study extends the prior research on first divorce differentials by education and economic activity status in Lithuania by examining divorce risk by occupation and (in progress) branch of industry. The analysis is carried out using a unique in the region census-linked dataset based on the linkages between the 2001 census and all first divorce records for 2001-2003. The final dataset covers all married individuals aged 15-60 years and include 3.18 million person-years of population exposure, and 41 thousand first divorces. Using Poisson regression modelling, the research aims at establishing complex relationships between the risk of first divorce and selected socio-economic variables as well as confounding and interaction effects of available explanatory variables. The originally available ILO-based occupation groups have been allocated into six social classes using the Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero classification scheme. Economically inactive people and people with unknown economic activity status and occupation (included as additional categories of the occupational variable) were also considered in the statistical modeling. Primary results based on Poisson regression models controlling for duration of marriage, marriage cohort, and age at first marriage suggest that there is no statistically significant difference in the risk of first divorce between upper and lower white collar employees (both sexes). However, self-employed males and females showed a higher propensity to divorce than those in the upper white collar category (reference). Divorce probability was lower among self-employed farmers and farm workers, unskilled manual workers, and skilled manual employees (males only). Additional control for education, place of residence, and ethnicity led to a reversal in the effect for self-employed male farmers and farm workers, now showing the highest divorce incidence. A slight advantage of lower divorce among unskilled workers found in the initial model disappeared for males. The excess in first divorce of self-employed females and males remained statistically significant.

Social class and firstdivorce in Lithuania

 

Aiva Jasilioniene1,2,Ausra Maslauskaite2, Vlada Stankuniene2, DomantasJasilionis1,2

 

1 Max PlanckInstitute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

2 Vytautas MagnusUniversity, Kaunas, Lithuania

 

 

This studyextends the prior research on first divorce differentials by education andeconomic activity status in Lithuania by examining divorce risk by occupationand branch of industry. The analysis is carried out using a unique in theregion census-linked dataset based on the linkages between the 2001 census andall first divorce records for 2001-2003. The final dataset covers all married individualsaged 15-60 years and include 3.18 million person-years of population exposure,and 41 thousand first divorces. Using Poisson regression modelling, theresearch aims at establishing complex relationships between the risk of firstdivorce and selected socio-economic variables as well as confounding andinteraction effects of available explanatory variables. Economically inactivepeople and people with unknown economic activity status and occupation(included as additional categories of the occupational variable) were alsoconsidered in the statistical modeling.

For more than three decades Lithuania has maintained a very high divorcelevel and is among the countries with the highest divorce rates in Europe.However, a significant differentiation in divorce risk exists by socio-economicpopulation characteristics. The study found a negative educational gradient indivorce risk for both males and females. Interestingly, this gradient varied inthe initial model controlling only for the union-specific demographiccharacteristics and changed after having the control for urban-rural place ofresidence and place of birth added into the model, which points to a notableurban-rural variation in the effect of education. The findings also show thatbeing out of the labour market significantly increases the risk of maritaldisruption for males only. This association is sustained across the whole rangeof male groups of economic inactivity. Unemployed and “other” inactive malesare the most vulnerable groups, showing the highest risk of first divorce. Forfemales, being out of the labour market either decreases the risk of firstdivorce, as in the case of housewives and the group of “other” economicallyinactive females, or has no influence, as it is for unemployed and economicallyinactive disabled females.

For the analysis of the effect of occupational class, two variables wereused. The first one consist of four categories: non-manual employees, manualworkers, self-employed workers, and self-employed famers. For the secondvariable, the originally available ILO-based occupation groups were allocatedinto six social classes using the Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero classificationscheme. Primary results based on Poisson regression models controlling forduration of marriage, marriage cohort, and age at first marriage (Table 1)suggest that there is no statistically significant difference in the risk offirst divorce between upper and lower white collar employees (both sexes).However, self-employed males and females showed a higher propensity to divorcethan those in the upper white collar category (reference). Divorce probabilitywas lower among self-employed farmers and farm workers, unskilled manualworkers, and skilled manual employees (males only). Additional control foreducation, place of residence, and ethnicity led to a reversal in the effectfor self-employed male farmers and farm workers, now showing the highestdivorce incidence. A slight advantage of lower divorce among unskilled workersfound in the initial model disappeared for males. The excess in first divorceof self-employed females and males remained statistically significant.Self-employed males and females constitute economically the most vulnerableoccupational group in Lithuania, with the most insecure employment and income.The explanation for lower risk of divorce among self-employed female farmerscould be similar like for housewives – they are more conservative and thedisruption of marriage is costly because of too few economic alternativesoutside of marriage.

           The examination of how occupation affects first divorce risk depending on thebranch of industry is currently in progress.

 

 

 

Table 1 First divorce risk by occupational groups (economicallyactive employed only), femalesand males

 

Females

Males

Model 1

Model 2

Model 1

Model 2

Upper white collar employees (ref.)

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Lower white collar employees

0.96

0.99

1.03

1.04

Skilled manual workers

0.96

1.01

0.87

0.93

Unskilled manual workers

0.88

0.97

0.91

1.02

Self-employed workers

1.14

1.14

1.20

1.22

Self-employed farmers

0.57

0.80

0.80

1.16

Control variables

Model 1: duration ofmarriage, marriage cohort, and age at first marriage

Model 2: + urban-rural place of residence, ethnicity, education,number of children (for females)

 

Presented in Session 1110: Families and Households