Volume 25 - Article 10 | Pages 337-370

Challenges in moving from macro to micro: Population and family structures in ageing societies

By Katharina Herlofson, Gunhild Hagestad

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Date received:13 Jan 2011
Date published:02 Aug 2011
Word count:8914
Keywords:family structure, gender, generation, micro and macro approaches, multigenerational family structures, population aging
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection “Intergenerational family ties in Europe: Multiple linkages between individuals, families and social contexts” at http://www.demographic-research.org/special/11/


Assumptions are often made about how population ageing on the macro level has altered generational structures of families at the micro level. The purpose of this paper is to increase the awareness of challenges and potential pitfalls in bridging the two levels. To highlight these issues, two common claims found in the literature are questioned and discussed: that increased life expectancy leads to more multigenerational family structures and that reduced fertility means fewer children to care for frail parents. To illustrate, we use population statistics and survey data from selected countries.

Author's Affiliation

Katharina Herlofson - NOVA - Norwegian Social Research, Norway [Email]
Gunhild Hagestad - NOVA - Norwegian Social Research, Norway [Email]

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