Article

Entering a stepfamily – Children’s Experience of Family Reconstitution in Sweden 1970-2000

Journal of Family Research/Zeitschrift für Familienforschung 01/2011; 23.
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    ABSTRACT: 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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    ABSTRACT: It has been argued that a society's gender system may influence parents' sex preferences for children. If this is true, one should expect to find no evidence of such preferences in countries with a high level of gender equality. In this article, we exploit data from population registers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden to examine continuities and changes in parental sex preferences in the Nordic countries during the past three to four decades. First, we do not observe an effect of the sex of the first born child on second-birth risks. Second, we detect a distinct preference for at least one child of each sex among parents of two children. For third births, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish parents seem to develop a preference for having a daughter, while Finns exhibit a significant preference for having a son. These findings show that modernization and more equal opportunities for women and men do not necessarily lead to parental gender indifference. On the contrary, they may even result in new sex preferences.
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May 16, 2014