Socioeconomic differences in family demographic behavior: trends and intergenerational implications

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 3370000 SEK


Family behavior has gone through dramatic changes during the last decades. Cohabitation, divorce and single-parent households have become more common and parenthood is entered at an ever later age. At the same time, people marry less and later, and an increasing share of children is born to unmarried couples.

Do these developments have any implications for social inequality, within and across generations? In this project we research this question and focus on analyzing whether family behavior has become differentiated by socioeconomic markers-education, class, and family background-and whether changing family structures and family dynamics play and influence on socioeconomic wellbeing and shape children's life chances. If family structure and dynamics have become differentiated along socioeconomic lines and if they shape inequalities within and across generations, then these family patterns have the potential of strengthening pre-existing socioeconomic differences. The focus of the project is on Sweden, which is at the forefront of family change and known for its welfare state, but we also conduct comparative analyses of a wider selection of countries.

Our project is divided into three main parts. In the first part we document the recent changes in marital formation and family structure, and assess the extent to which they have differentiated according to socioeconomic status. The second part is dedicated to analyzing the effects of social background on family formation behavior, while in the third part we focus on the effects of family demographic behaviors-and in particular, the age of becoming a parent and family dissolution-on children's educational outcomes. Our project runs for three years, 2011-13, and is based at Stockholm University. It has two researchers, Juho Härkönen (project leader) and Johan Carlsson Dahlberg, who will also write his doctoral dissertation within the project.

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13