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The Other Widowhood: Common-law Partners and Death in France

Isabelle Delaunay

This article examines widowhood in its broadest sense, i.e., the widowhood of married, unmarried, or remarried persons, who are not usually considered widows or widowers in the sense of civil status. In particular, it focuses on early widowhood.

A wider consideration of sociodemographic categories demonstrates the need to modernize the definition of “widowhood” to include annulment.

The article presents the results of two surveys carried out in France: the first, quantitative, survey shows that one-fifth of widows and widowers and one-third of young widows and widowers frequently do not appear in statistics. The second, qualitative, survey explores the reality of death among couples and the status of the widow and widower today.