The Effect of Socioeconomic Status and Religiosity on Hungarian Young Adults’ Marriage Behavior

Gabriella Pusztai, Hajnalka Fényes, Ágnes Engler


This study focuses on young people’s marriage behavior, which includes cohabitation, marriage, and plans to marry among the unmarried. The decline in marriages and planned marriages is usually explained by the general expansion of education, which exerts its effect through women’s economic independence and postponed marriages. Research suggests that religiosity has a greater impact on marriage decisions than socioeconomic status or education. In this study, we aim to contribute to the literature on how young adults’ marriage behavior is influenced by religiosity and socioeconomic status, as measured by education, financial status, and the place of residence. During the analysis, we used data from the Hungarian Youth 2016 survey on young adults aged 18 to 29 years. We examined the determinants of young people’s marital status and plans to marry using multinomial and logistic regression analysis. According to our results, the positive effect of religiosity on marriage and plans to marry could be confirmed even after controlling for the effect of education. Although education strengthened plans to get married, it also delayed marriages. Furthermore, we found that religiosity increased the chance of cohabitation compared to being single, but its effect on marriage was stronger. The limitation of our study is that in the examined age group (18–29 years), not all marriage decisions had been made, so it was not possible to fully investigate what proportion refrained from marriage entirely.


Marriage behavior; cohabitation; marriage; marriage planning; education; religiosity

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