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Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Fertility, Attitudes

Early marriages, a relatively small proportion of single men and women, and a high level of fertility have historically characterized the Hungarian population. The family has traditionally played an important role in Hungarian society. The sociological and demographic analyses carried out during the 1990s have shown that the family is more important for people than other areas of life (e.g., work, recreation, and other social contact). The notion of family had a positive connotation in general; married people were considered happier than others; and public opinion held that the family was and remained the most important point of stability (Szalai 1991). The Hungarian people see the ideal family as a married couple bringing up one or two children.

Certain signs indicate a change in the generally positive view of the family and marriage, and the family as a social institution is struggling with a number of crises. The crises are evident in such trends as the decreasing ratio of those who live in a traditionally ideal family. The decreasing number of new marriages, the high ratio of divorces, and the decreasing fertility rate are other indicators, as is the increasing number of children born outside marriage. Beyond these, other phenomena, such as the high numbers of alcoholics, people suffering from psychiatric illnesses, neglected children, children living in poverty, and suicides are all closely linked with the crisis of family life.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural Aspects