Family, living arrangements and social structure

Research on family, living arrangements and social structure by members of the Population Research Unit.
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

Sociodemographic determinants of criminal careers in Finland 1987–2015 (CRIMCAR)

Finnish criminal policy places a strong emphasis on the premise that preventing social exclusion reduces crime. Although existing register-based analyses demonstrate a strong association between measures of social disadvantage and crime, we don't currently know how these associations have changed during the recent past. The aim of this Academy of Finland -funded project (2018-2022) is to provide a comprehensive assessment of how criminal careers and sociodemographic backgrounds of persistent offenders have changed during 1987–2015. We analyze long-term conviction trajectories of different birth cohorts to see how lifetime conviction risks and criminal careers have changed. Next, we examine if sociodemographic factors associated with persistent offending and imprisonment have changed in this time frame, and whether offenders are becoming a more marginalized group. Finally, we provide new evidence on the effects of macroeconomic changes on the employment rates of offenders, and assess their vulnerability to such shocks.

Sociodemographic determinants of criminal careers in Finland 1987–2015 (CRIMCAR)

Key words: crime, violence, violent victimization, socioeconomic status

Researchers: Mikko Aaltonen, Joonas Pitkänen

Welfare state life courses: Social inequalities in the co-evolution of employment, health and critical life events (WELLIFE)

This is a NordForsk-funded comparative research project on the social inequalities in health and well-being using unique register information on socioeconomic conditions, social security and health, available in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is a follow-up project implementing research made possible by the data infrastructure project C-LIFE. In the WELLIFE project we set to study three themes. First, we will study whether social policies, including labour market policies, modify the extent to which the onset of illness affects living conditions, in particular employment. For example, health data on cancer incidence and hospitalisation will be used to indicate types of ‘health shocks’. Second, we investigate the role of social policy in the extent to which ‘critical life events’, such as job loss, divorce or health shocks within the close family, translate into poor health and worse living conditions for parents and children. This part of the project will have a special interest in health and employment, but including other outcomes is important to understand the mechanisms at work. While these two objectives will provide new insights into the role of the welfare state in shaping the health-employment relationship, a key ambition is also to provide better understanding of the mechanisms at play in a life course and gender perspective on social inequality formation. The third objective is to analyse prevailing social trajectories experienced by people who fall ill, lose their job or experience divorce, etc. in different welfare settings.

NordForsk - WELLIFE

Researchers: Kaarina Korhonen, Heta Moustgaard, Lasse Tarkiainen, Niina Metsä-Simola