Fertilität und Wohlbefinden

Auf einen Blick Projekte Publikationen Team


Family Formation in Comparative Perspective

Andres Castro, Mathias Lerch; in Zusammenarbeit mit Trude Lappegård (University of Oslo / Statistics Norway, Oslo, Norwegen), Sebastian Klüsener (Federal Institute for Population Research, Wiesbaden, Deutschland), Daniele Vignoli (University of Florence, Italien), Mikołaj Szołtysek (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Deutschland), Siegfried Gruber (University of Graz, Österreich), Radoslaw Poniat (University of Bialystok, Polen), Hans-Peter Kohler, Frank F. Furstenberg (beide: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Vereinigte Staaten)

Ausführliche Beschreibung

Family formation processes and structures are important features of human societies, and they are highly relevant for understanding fertility trends. These processes are likely to be influenced by processes of human development and to affect the prospects for societal progress. This project explores the determinants and the potential consequences of continuity and change in family formation patterns across Europe and the world.

A subproject deals with the sharp increase in non-marital fertility over the last decades. Proponents of the Second Demographic Transition framework view this trend as being part of a pattern of progress driven by processes such as emancipation from traditional social norms. Other scholars see this trend in the context of a “pattern of disadvantage” because non-marital births are often concentrated among lower socioeconomic groups. We use long-term and multi-level perspectives to review the existing explanations of spatial variation in non-marital fertility across Europe. Results based on historical statistics and harmonized survey data have shown the persistence of past patterns, which we link to the continuity of social norms. A potential reason for the inconsistencies in the existing explanations for the increase in non-marital fertility is that their relevance depends on the scale at which variation occurs: The pattern of disadvantage is helpful for understanding individual-level variation, but the high levels of non-marital fertility in the flourishing countries of Northern and Western Europe can be linked to their more advanced stages in the Second Demographic Transition.

Another subproject focuses on the spatial variation in patriarchal family structures across historical Europe. We rely on harmonized individual-level population count data from the Mosaic project (formerly initiated and coordinated by the MPIDR), linked with geo-referenced information on physical geography, historical variation in demographic centrality, and structural features of agricultural societies (e.g., serfdom). Our results have shown that patriarchal features in family structures and human capital accumulation were strongly positively related. We have also demonstrated that today’s large-scale variation patterns in gender equality across Europe have many similarities with spatial variation in the dominance of patriarchal family structures across historical Europe. This suggests that the current differences in the roles women and men play in societies have some long-standing historical roots.

Another sub-project aims at providing a global and comprehensive lens on how family change occurs and how it relates to socioeconomic, technological, and cultural developments. Evidence on such connections is lacking, and this is particularly crucial in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where change in family structures is most rapid and dramatic. The subproject contributes to both theoretical and empirical understandings by conducting empirical research, creating indicators, and developing methodologies to study family changes in a global perspective. Our results have documented strong country-level convergence in fertility decline across LMICs over the past 50 years. To understand these trends better, we examined the correlation between family dimensions (i.e., family forms, the timing of family formation, reproduction, gender relations, and household structure). The spatial and temporal trends of these correlations suggest that family change occurs as a combination of slow change in family forms and gender roles, and rapid shifts in fertility and the timing of family formation.


Familienverhalten, Geburtenentwicklung

Schlagworte (Region):

Europa, Russland


Szołtysek, M.; Poniat, R.; Klüsener, S.; Gruber, S.:
In: Cliometrics of the family, 83–119. Cham: Springer. (2019)
Lappegård, T.; Klüsener, S.; Vignoli, D.:
Population, Space and Place 24:2, e2088–e2088. (2018)    
Szołtysek, M.; Klüsener, S.; Poniat, R.; Gruber, S.:
Cross-Cultural Research 51:3, 228–262. (2017)    
Szołtysek, M.; Poniat, R.; Klüsener, S.; Gruber, S.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2017-012. (2017)    
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.