Family, living arrangements and social structure

Research on family, living arrangements and social structure by members of the Helsinki Institute for Demography and Population Health.
Child disability and family life (FRAILIFE)

The effects of raising a disabled child can be numerous and varied, and affect the entire family household. In Europe, approximately 4 % of children have various disabilities, and about a million of them attend special schools. However, there is a lack of research that summarises the challenges and processes of families with disabled children. The EU-funded FRAILIFE project led by Dr Nicoletta Balbo from Bocconi University aims to fill this crucial gap by using a comparative and population approach to unveil heterogeneous effects, family outcomes and pathways, short- and long-term effects, mechanisms and causalities. This project will allow for an analysis of the general functionality of families with disabled children to inform better policies of the most fragile families in European society.

Researchers: Hanna Remes, Pekka Martikainen 

Female same-sex couples and their childbearing and living conditions

With increasing legal and social recognition of same-sex couples and their right to family life, the number of female same-sex couples with children has steadily increased in Finland. The present project aims to assess how socioeconomic characteristics and living conditions of female same-sex couples are associated with their childbearing, compared to different-sex couples. We also assess socioeconomic and health determinants and consequences of divorce or separation among same-sex couples. Using Finnish record-linkage data, we study educational pathways and living conditions of adult children raised in same-sex families.  

Key words: same-sex couples, lesbian, gay 

Researchers: Elina Einiö, Maria Ponkilainen, Mikko Myrskylä   

Future of fertility: a comparative analysis of Finland and other Nordic countries

The Nordic countries are due to their relatively high and stable fertility of high interest in family demographic research and are sometimes even viewed as forerunners in demographic behavior. However, all Nordic countries have witnessed strong and unexpected decreases in their period fertility since 2010. This decline has caused notable public concerns about the potential difficulties in realizing individual childbearing intentions as well as about the long-term perspective of economic sustainability. The aim of this study is to analyze fertility dynamics in Finland and other Nordic countries as these countries are undergoing rapid changes in childbearing behavior and experiencing unprecedentedly low fertility levels. Using aggregated fertility data from the Human Fertility Database (HFD) and individual fertility data from Finnish registers, the study tries to answer what demographic determinants are driving the period fertility declines, whether fertility postponement only is being accelerated, or weather women are also increasingly forgoing childbearing, as there have been no studies addressing these issues. Moreover, it also focuses on partnership dynamics and differences in fertility declines by field of education.

Researcher: Julia Hellstrand (Affiliated to the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)

Living arrangements and the transition to adulthood

The living and housing conditions of individuals are likely to be influenced by different life events and social transitions at various life stages and even across generations. Leaving the parental home involves housing change by definition, and the timing and context of leaving, for example, has been shown to relate to young people’s future health and well-being. Previous research on the associations between family background and later living arrangements and housing remains relatively scarce. Housing studies have not fully embraced family issues, and housing issues are also seldom addressed in demographic and family studies. Finnish register-based individual-level data provides unique opportunities to combine these perspectives and study housing and living arrangement trajectories across the life-course. Furthermore, these trajectories can be linked to various health outcomes.

Key words: living arrangements, transition to adulthood, intergenerational effects, social inequalities

Researcher: Hanna Remes