East-West Couples: Distribution, Characteristics and Stability


  • Daniel Lois Universität der Bundeswehr München, Fakultät für Humanwissenschaften, Department of Education




East-west differences, Internal migration, Relationship stability, Homogamy


SOEP data were used to examine relationships consisting of one partner socialised in West Germany and one in East Germany and who presently reside in the “old” (former West German) or “new” (newly formed East German) federal states. The estimated share of east-west couples among all marriages or cohabiting couples rises continuously within the observed period reaching approximately two and eleven percent respectively by 2009. The specific characteristics of east-west couples are that their employment-related division of labour is relatively egalitarian, above-average the partners are of different confessions and practice different religions, at least one of the partners is frequently divorced and there is also a strong tendency towards unmarried cohabitation. Besides the place of socialisation, the present place of residence has an independent impact on the economic situation, division of labour and marriage propensity. Analyses of relationship stability reveal that east-west couples exhibit a relatively high risk of separation. This is partly due to religious differences between the partners, but primarily to the low marriage propensity and the overrepresentation of divorced persons within this type of relationship.




How to Cite

Lois, D. 2014. East-West Couples: Distribution, Characteristics and Stability. Comparative Population Studies. 40, 1 (Dec. 2014). DOI:https://doi.org/10.12765/CPoS-2014-17.



Research Articles