Marriage or Cohabitation? A Survey of Students’ Attitudes in Greece
Keywords:marriage, cohabitation, attitudes, university students, Greece
In recent decades, family patterns have been (more or less rapidly) transformed in all Western societies. This is also the case for Greece, whose society was frequently considered one of the most traditional among European countries, since family stereotypes, secular social norms and – in some ways – religion occupied (and still do) a prominent position. Based on a survey of students’ attitudes towards marriage (or cohabitation), an exploratory data analysis allows the identification of specific factors shaping beliefs and attitudes toward marriage in Greek society. In particular, it is demonstrated that female students are overcoming traditional boundaries and prefer more modern forms of companionship. The results indicate that female students tend to postpone their decision to marry, as traditional family stereotypes seem to have lost their influence on the life course decisions taken by young women. Additionally, a large proportion of female students use cohabitation as a precursor to marriage. Respondents are found to be more emancipated and independent than in years gone by, while social status and financial independence are sought through education rather than marriage. Another important factor is the lack of state policies supporting families and the lack of incentives to have children.