Stem families, joint families, and the European pattern: what kind of a reconsideration do we need?
Journal of Family History, 37:1, 105–125 (2012)
This article makes a new contribution to the discussion of historical European family forms. Its starting points are two recent contributions by Steven Ruggles in which the author discussed the historical appearances of stem and joint families across the globe. Drawing on most recent developments in census microdata infrastructure from historical Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe, the authors pinpoint limitations pertaining to the usage of IPUMS and NAPP collections for the investigation of European family systems. Using newly acquired materials and refined conceptual tools, they enhance the knowledge about the spatiotemporal distribution of stem- and joint-family arrangements in a broader European context. As the frequency of joint families in the regions under study cannot be fully accounted for by referring to measures of economic conditions and demographic structures alone, the authors speculate about some additional factors which may explain the observed differences in joint-family coresidence across historic Eastern Europe.