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This Fact Sheet presents data and trends over time in marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and non-marital birthrates for countries in three European regions: Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and Western Europe. Countries for which data are presented include Sweden, Norway and Denmark; Italy, Portugal, and Spain; and the United Kingdom, France and Germany. For purposes of comparison, rates for North America–the United States and Canada–are also included.

European demographic data are drawn from two primary sources: the Council of Europe's report entitled ""Recent Demographic Developments in Europe"" and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development Family Database. Crude marriage and divorce rates are reported across countries of interest. The crude rate reports the number of marriages, and divorces, per 1,000 individuals in the population. Although this rate does not indicate the probability that a marriage will end in divorce, or the portion of people who will eventually marry by, for example, age 50, it is the most reliable means for comparing data across Western countries.

This Fact Sheet provides relationship education practitioners and policymakers in the United States with an understanding of the variations in, and magnitude of family formation patterns that are occurring in other industrialized nations around the world as a point of comparison and potential insight into underlying driving forces. (Author abstract)