MPIDR Working Paper

Children’s experience of family disruption and family formation: evidence from 16 FFS countries

Andersson, G.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2001-028, 23 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (September 2001)
Paper presented for the XXIVth IUSSP General Population Conference in Salvador, Brazil, 18-24 August 2001.
Open Access


In this paper, we present a number of descriptive measures on children’s experiences of family disruption and family formation. We use data from the Fertility and Family Surveys of 15 European countries and corresponding data from the USA in order to find out what kind of family circumstances children are born into and which experiences they subsequently have of various family-transformation events of their mothers. Our presentation reveals some similarities but also striking differences in the family-demographic experience of children in different countries. USA stands out as one extreme case with its very high fraction of children born to a lone mother, with a higher probability for children to experience a union disruption of their parents than anywhere else, and with many children having the experience of living in a stepfamily. Italy stands out at the other end of the scale. Practically all children are here born to a married mother and very few of them experience a dissolution of their parents’ union before they turn 15. (AUTHOR)
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