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PopDigests are short, comprehensive summaries of research results with a link to the original publication (if accessible online).
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Children’s living arrangements have become increasingly diverse and complex in recent decades. A significant proportion of children today grow up in stepfamilies or in separated one-parent families.There has been a wide range of literature that has explored the impact of these family configurations on children’s outcomes later in life. Silvia Meggiolaro and Fausta Ongaro focus on an aspect that has received less attention: children’s emotional status related to non-traditional family forms.
Why Immigrant Children Don’t Do Well At School
© Petro Feket
Across Europe, statistics show that children from migrant families are less successful in school then other pupils. In a recent article Camilla Borgna and Dalit Contini examine the impact of educational systems and provide explanations beyond language skills and socio-economic background.Using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, the authors compare results for 17 countries. They focus on second-generation immigrants and their achievements at the end of compulsory schooling, about age 15.
Papa, His New Wife, Their Baby and Me
© monropic - Fotolia.com
Terms like “blended families” or “patchwork families” sound new and modern, but the concept is an old one. There have always been children growing up in what was then called “Stepfamilies”. However, what changed significantly over time are the reasons for such arrangements: Whilst historically they were mostly a result of early parental death, today’s stepfamilies are usually formed after parents separate. So today’s family arrangements are varied: Two children living in the same household might share both parents, making them full siblings. Or they might each be the biological child of one, but not the same, adult in the household, making them stepsiblings. Or one child might live with both of their biological parents of whom one is the parent and one is the stepparent of the other child, making the children half-siblings.
Who is doing it again
Fertility in Europe is characterised by sizeable contrasts between countries. These differences are not due to different levels of childlessness, but rather caused by variation in second (and third) birth rates. Opportunities and constraints that influence decisions about family size are closely linked to educational attainment. Recent evidence suggests that the behaviour of women with high education may even be related to overall fertility levels: In countries with relatively high transitions to second births, the total fertility rates tend to be higher. This implies that more knowledge about educational differentials can contribute to the understanding of diversity in fertility in contemporary Europe.
Changed Experience, Unchanged Effect
© Romolo Tavani
During the last hundred years, divorce and separation rates have increased dramatically in all European countries. But does it mean the same for children and adolescents today as it did a century ago? How has the association between parental divorce and child well-being changed in magnitude over time? To answer these questions for Sweden, Michael Gähler and Eva-Lisa Palmtag use six waves of the Swedish Level of Living Survey, and explore data on childhood living conditions for an entire century of Swedes, born between 1892 and 1991.
Missing the Bigger Picture
Immigrants and their children and grandchildren form a significant part of the population in many European countries. But only over the last decade has research begun to show increasing interest in understanding the patterns of union formation and childbearing behaviour of ethnic minorities.
Mixing Does not Always Lead to Matching
During the last two decades, most European countries experienced increased immigration and ethnic heterogeneity in their populations. Not surprisingly, marriages between natives and immigrants also increased, even in those countries where the barriers between ethnic groups have typically been high. However, European research on union dynamics is far from being complete.
Who Does What in the Joint Household?
Earning money, managing the home and looking after children – surely no couple would complain about a lack of work. There are many different answers to the question of how to best share these tasks. But are there significant differences between same-sex and different-sex couples when it comes to the division of household work, and do these differences change across generations? Lisa Giddings, John M. Nunley, Alyssa Schneebaum and Joachim Zietz sought out to find answers to these exact questions.
Versatile Designs of Life
© djma - Fotolia.com
Traditional family patterns are losing popularity in Europe. One example of this is the fact that more and more people are living together without getting married. Cohabitation means different things to different people, and people choose this family arrangement for various reasons. Do these reasons influence their fertility intentions? In a recent study, Nicole Hiekel and Teresa Castro-Martin examine how the different meanings of cohabitation and the intention to have a child are intertwined.
“Divorce-Damages” on Education
© Kzenon - Fotolia.com
Can parental divorce affect the chances of children to obtain a university degree? By studying divorce in 14 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania, and Russia), Fabrizio Bernardi and Jonas Radl explored its long-term consequences on education achievement and found a negative, although relatively small effect.
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