El Colegio de Mexico


Professor Retired, Bharathiar University
Johns Hopkins Univ.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo
Institut national de la recherche scientifique

IUSSP Secretariat

International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)

Council Liaison

Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Population Council

Family formation is being transformed as the result of a progressive dissociation between sexual, marital and reproductive life. Changes in the timing of conjugal unions and in the nature of the established ties between spouses and partners are at the core of this transformation. The concept of a stable, life-long conjugal life has become increasingly irrelevant; marriage no longer delimits sexual life, which takes place increasingly outside of wedlock. The experience of conjugal life can follow different kinds of union patterns: informal to legally-recognised, single or multiple unions (including polygamy), hetero or same-sex. Divorced and separated individuals are re-entering the marriage market with a potential rise in the number of remarriages and a possible diversification of partnerships and matching patterns. The combination of these possibilities produces a wide range of scenarios that vary considerably when considering different social groups, ethnicities, religions, gender relations and educational levels, and according to women’s participation in labour force, and other cultural specificities. This diversification of conjugal unions and reproductive trajectories is transforming not only individual life courses, but also family responsibilities, the patterns of gender relations, and the wellbeing of women, men and children.


The Panel plans to organize its activities around the following topics: the tempo and quantum of different kinds of conjugal unions around the world; the conjugal trajectories; matching patterns and the gender imbalance of the marriageable population.


Final Panel Report

Programme of activities

International Seminar on Union Breakdown and Repartnering around the World

Montreal, Canada, 4–6 May 2015

International Seminar on First Union Patterns around the World 

Madrid, Spain, 20-22 June 2012