Curriculum vitae


Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology

University of Cologne &

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

Contact:, +49 (0)221 470 4234

Universitätsstraße 24, 50939 Cologne, Germany



2014                             Ph.D. in Sociology, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands (14/5/2014).

                                      Dissertation: The different meanings of cohabitation across Europe. How cohabiters view their unions and differ in                                              their plans and behaviors. Supervisor: Aart C. Liefbroer, Anne-Rigt Poortman.                             

                                      Dissertation Committee: Matthijs Kalmijn, Ineke Maas, Doreen Manting, Theo van Tilburg, Michael Wagner

2009                             Master of Arts in Sociology, Psychology and History, Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne

                                      Thesis: Conflicts in the course of intimate relationships. Supervisor: Prof. dr. Michael Wagner 

2006/2007                   Master Courses in Demography, Institute of Demography (IDUP), University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

2004                             Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Psychology and History, Institute of Sociology, Technical University Dresden



2017 – present              Lecturer (German: Akademische Rätin a. Z., equivalent W1), Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University                                               of  Cologne


                                        Affiliation to the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute as External Collaboration Partner of Advanced                                            Grant Project “Contexts of Opportunity (CONOPP)” funded by European Research Council (PI: Prof. A.C. Liefbroer)

2015 – 2017                   PostDoc Researcher, Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne

2014 – 2017                   PostDoc Researcher in Advanced Grant Project “Contexts of Opportunity (CONOPP)“ funded by European Research                                             Council (PI: Prof. A.C. Liefbroer), Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, Netherlands.

2009 – 2014                  Ph.D. Candidate, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, Netherlands   

                                        Junior Researcher (Data Harmonizer), Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, Netherlands                                            in project: “Generations and Gender Programme” funded by the European Commission


2018-2020                     Elected board member of the section "Family sociology" of the German Sociological Association

2016 – 2017                   Elected spokeswoman of approx. 80 academic pre-and postdoc staff members at the Board of Directors, Institute of                                           Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne

2013 – 2015                   Elected member of work council of approx. 60 staff members of Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic                                                           Institute, The Hague



2018 – present             Associate Editor, European Journal of Population (Editor- in-Chief: Albert Esteve)

2014 – 2017                 Editorial Assistant of Editor-in-Chief, European Journal of Population (Editor- in-Chief: Helga de Valk)

2016 – 2018                 Member of Editorial Board, Journal of Marriage and Family



2017-2018                    €10,000 of Career Support for High-Potential Female Scientists funded by the Female Professor Programm of the                                                German Ministry of Education and Research to support high-potential young female researchers in Germany                                                        (Mentoring, Coaching, Research Stay)

2017                             Best Poster Award “The Social Stratification of Choice in the Transition to Adulthood (with Francesco Billari & Aart C.                                            Liefbroer) at RC28 Social Stratification Conference, Cologne, Germany

2018                             Invited Visiting Scholar at Center for Demographic Studies (CED), Barcelona, Spain (host: dr. Sergi Vidal)

2012                             Invited Visiting Scholar at Department of Demography, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain (host:                                        prof. dr. Teresa Castro-Martín)

2007                             Invited Visiting Scholar at French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), Paris, France (host: prof. dr. Clementine                                              Rossier, REPRO project collaboration with MPIDR)

2006                             Invited Visiting Student at Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research (MPIDR), Rostock, Germany (host: prof. dr.                                            Michaela Kreyenfeld and prof. dr. Dirk Konietzka)



2015 - present              Ph.D. candidate Joanne Muller: “Childhood disadvantage, family life course and later life outcomes”, Netherlands                                                  Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (with prof. dr. Aart C. Liefbroer, ongoing)


2015 – present             Supervision and coordination of the research assistance of two students at the Chair of prof. M. Wagner, Institute of                                           Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne

2015 – present             Supervision of 15 Master and Bachelor Theses at the Institute of Sociology, of which ten as first supervisor.



I have developed and taught a range of courses on population studies, social demography, family sociology and fertility in form of seminars, research skills seminars, intensive courses at BA and MA level as well as invited lectures with up to 500 BA students at the RUG University Groningen (2012-2015) and the University of Cologne (2015 – present). I currently teach two seminars (one BA, one MA) per semester. My evaluations are excellent. My guest lectures on the First and Second Demographic Transition at RUG Groningen have been evaluated best among 12 invited guest lecturers. My teaching at University of Cologne is on average evaluated with the grade 1.3 [1.0;5.0]. I regularly attend courses to further develop my teaching skills at the Center for University Didactics, University of Cologne.



2018                             ERC Starting Grant Reviewer SH3

2017/2018                   Research Foundation Flanders Postdoctoral Fellowship Reviewer

2014 - present             Reviewer for Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Advances in Life Course Research, Social Science Research,                                         Comparative Population Studies, Journal of Family Research and book chapters by different publishers



European Association for Population Studies (EAPS),  German Sociological Association (DGS), German Demographic Society (DGD), Dutch Demographic Society (NVD)


Hiekel, Nicole & Wagner, Michael (2020): Individualized relationship practices and union dissolution. Differences between marriage and cohabitation. European Sociological Review (online first)

Muller, Joanne S., Hiekel, Nicole & Liefbroer, Aart C. (2020): The long term costs of family trajectories: Women’s later life earnings across Europe. Demography (online first)

Hiekel Nicole & Vidal, Sergi (2019): Childhood family structure and complexity in partnership life courses. Social Science Research. Online first

Billari, Francesco C., Hiekel, Nicole & Liefbroer, Aart C. (2019): The social stratification of choice in the transition to adulthood. European Sociological Review 35(5): 599-615.

Hiekel, Nicole & Fulda, Barbara E. (2018): Love. Break up. Repeat. The prevalence and stability of serial cohabitation among West German women and men born in the early 1970s. Demographic Research 39 (30): 855-870.

Žilinčíková, Zuzana & Hiekel, Nicole (2018): Transition from cohabitation to marriage. The role of marital attitudes in seven Western and Eastern European countries. Comparative Population Studies 43: 3-30.


Fokkema, Tineke, Kveder, Andrej, Hiekel, Nicole, Emery, Tom & Liefbroer, Aart C. (2017): Generations and Gender Programme Wave 1 data collection: An overview and assessment of sampling and fieldwork methods, weighting procedures, and cross-sectional representativeness. Demographic Research 34 (18): 499-524.


Hiekel, Nicole, Liefbroer, Aart C. & Poortman, Anne-Rigt (2015): Marriage and separation risks among German cohabiters: Differences between types of cohabiter. Population Studies 69 (2): 237-257.


Hiekel, Nicole & Keizer, Renske (2015): Risk-avoidance or utmost commitment: Dutch focus group research on views on cohabitation and marriage. Demographic Research 32 (10): 311-340.


Hiekel, Nicole, Liefbroer, Aart C. &  Poortman, Anne-Rigt (2014): Understanding diversity in the meaning of cohabitation across Europe. European Journal of Population 30 (4): 391-410.


Hiekel, Nicole & Castro-Martin, Teresa (2014): Grasping the diversity of cohabitation: Fertility intentions among cohabiters across Europe. Journal of Marriage and Family 76 (3): 489-505. 


Hiekel, Nicole, Liefbroer, Aart C. & Poortman, Anne-Rigt (2014): Income pooling strategies among cohabiting and married couples: A comparative perspective. Demographic Research 30 (55): 1527-1560.



Hiekel, Nicole (2014): The different meanings of cohabitation across Europe. How cohabiters view their union and differ in their plans and behaviors. Dissertation: Amsterdam University Press.


Hiekel, Nicole (2017), Book review of Cesnuitytè, Vida, Lück, Detlev and Widmer, Eric D.: Family Continuity and Change. Contemporary European Perspectives. Series: Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life: Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017, European Journal of Population 33 (4): 607-609.


Hiekel, Nicole, Huinink Johannes & Peters, Timo (2014), Combining data from the Generations and Gender Surveys and the German Family Panel to conduct comparative research on couples' and family dynamics. Pairfam Working Paper 22


Hox, Joop, Leeuw, Edith de, Kveder, Andrej, Liefbroer, Aart C., Aassve, Arnstein, Petric, Gregor, Lozar Manfreda, Katia, Kogovsek, T., Platinovsek, Rol, Klobas, Jane & Hiekel, Nicole (2010), Report on the methodological evaluation of the GGS questionnaire. Deliverable D7 for the EC-FP7 project GGP 212749. The Hague: Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), 127 p. 



I have been presenting at >30 international conferences and workshops since 2010:    

Annual Meeting Population Association of America (2017, 2015, 2013, 2011), European Population Conference (2018, 1016, 2014, 2012, 2010), IUSSP conference (2014) and seminars (2018,2012), International Sociological Association (Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification and Mobility, 2017), German Demographic Society (2018), German Sociological Association (2017, 2019), Dutch Demography Day (2010-2015), Dutch/Flemish Sociological Association (2010-2015), Pairfam Conference (2014), Generations and Gender Programme User Conference (2010,2013)



2018                            Repeated cohabitation in Germany. Determinants and outcomes of complex partnership trajectories. Invited talk at                                             the IUSSP Panel “New and emerging family forms around the globe” organized by Brienna Perelli-Harris, Centre for                                             Demographic Research, Barcelona, Spain

2017                            Serial cohabitation in Germany. Determinants and outcomes of complex partnership trajectories. Invited talk at the                                             conference “Changing Gender Inequalities, Changing Families?” organized by Jan van Bavel, KU University Leuven,                                               Belgium

                                     Do individualized marital practices increase the risk of divorce? Invited talk at the ERC GENDERBALL project group by                                           Jan van Bavel, KU University Leuven, Belgium

2014                            The diversity of cohabitation across Europe. Invited talk at the Relations Cross Nations Network Meeting organized by                                        Tiziana Nazio, University of Turin, Italy

                                    The first and second demographic transition. Invited Guest lecture at RUG Groningen (MA level)

2013                            Grasping diversity in the cohabiting population across Europe. Invited talk at the symposium of the ERC funded                                                   Nonmarital Childbearing Project organized by Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton, United Kingdom


                                     Partnership formation and dissolution. Invited Guest lecture at RUG Groningen (BA level)

                                     The Second Demographic Transition. Recent trends in demographic attitudes and behaviors. Invited Guest lecture at                                           RUG Groningen (BA level)

2012                             The different meanings of unmarried cohabitation in Europe. Invited talk at the IUSSP Seminar on “First union                                                      patterns around the world” organized by Teresa Castro-Martín

                                      The Second Demographic Transition. Recent trends in demographic attitudes and behaviors Invited Guest lecture at                                            RUG Groningen (BA level)



2018                             Interview in CNN Documentary “Sex and Love Around the World” with Christiane Amanpour, broadcasted in April 2018


2017                             Research Gate featured my research on the effect of individualism on marital instability [URL]

                                      Radio Interview with Radio Eins “Why are there so many single households in Cologne?”

2014 and 2015            Oxford based Blog featured my research on the diverse meanings of unmarried cohabitation in                                                      Europe as well as my study on the effect of motives of living in unmarried cohabitation and relationship dissolution

2014                             Population Europe featured my research on fertility intentions of cohabiters across Europe

                                      NIDI DEMOS Bulletin “Ongehuwd samenwonen in Europa” (Unmarried cohabitation in Europe)

                                      Samenwonenden krijgen steeds vaker een kind (Cohabiters increasingly have children together), Interview with                                                    Reformatorisch Dagblad, May 7, 2014, cover story of a Dutch daily, reformatory newspaper