Marriage Boom in Hungary in the 2010s: Recuperation after the Great Recession or the Byproduct of Pronatalist Policies?

Zsuzsanna Makay , Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Lívia Murinkó, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

After the marriage bust of 2010, when total first marriage rate (TFMR) dropped to an unprecedented level of 0.39, Hungary has witnessed a marriage boom, with TFMR as high as 0.65 in recent years. This turn from long-term decline to increasing popularity is unique also because it is not accompanied by a baby boom. The study aims at exploring the mechanisms behind increased marriage propensity in Hungary. Economic recovery after the Great Recession may have triggered an initial growth due to recuperation of previously postponed marriages, but the most probable reasons for the steep increase of recent years are policy changes. In particular, pronatalist family policies that support housing and some of the benefits are conditioned on marriage. We use vital statistics from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (2000–2018) on the composition of brides and grooms by basic socio-demographic factors to assess if changes reflect recuperation and/or policy priorities. Then we use data from the five panel waves of the Hungarian Generations and Gender Survey (2001–2017). We employ piecewise constant event history models with period effects to explore the impact of the introduction of certain policies on the probability of getting married, controlling for personal characteristics. First descriptive results from vital statistics indicate that after 2010 the number of marriages increased the most in socio-economic groups that benefited from new policy measures and we also found some support for recuperation. These findings suggests that family policies may be an important source of motivation to get married in today’s Hungary.

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 Presented in Session 49. Flash Session Policy and Practice