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Evaluation of the partnership histories in the Centre for Population Change GHS time series dataset

ESRC Centre for Population Change
Publication Date
  • G Geography (General)
  • Hm Sociology
  • Economics


A combined time series of the General Household Survey datasets from 1979 to 2007 has been compiled by the Centre for Population Change (CPC). This dataset includes, along with socio-economic variables, the demographic histories collected in the Family Information section of the GHS questionnaire over the GHS rounds covered, in harmonised form. The present paper evaluates both the internal consistency of the marriage and cohabitation histories and their correspondence with external sources. The data are weighted using new weights generated by CPC for the analysis of these data. Overall, cumulative proportions married by each age for the cohorts of 1951-55 to 1966-70 correspond well with ONS figures for England and Wales, though there are some systematic disparities in selected years. As found in an earlier study, retrospective estimates from the 2000-07 histories of the proportions cohabiting at a point in time are somewhat above the cross-sectional estimates at survey 5 and 10 years before.

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