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DONDENA Seminar Series Spring 2023 - Albert Esteve Palós


"Lifetime exposure to coresident kin across societies"

by Albert Esteve, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, with David Reher, Universidad Complutense




Most people coreside with other kin in private households while others live alone. Exposure to coresident kin and solo living varies noticeably across societies. Scholars have long theorized about the role of modernization and cultural change for living arrangements, suggesting a trend toward the nuclearization of households (coresidence only with primary kin) or towards solo living as societies attain higher levels of development. Yet, there is little empirical evidence about variations in living arrangements across societies and about how such variations unfold at different levels of development (measured with HDI). Here, we address these fundamental questions. Using IPUMS census microdata for 279 samples and 90 countries, we develop a new metric for assessing the lifetime a person can expect to coreside with different kin or alone assuming exposure rates, from birth to death, to the living arrangements observed in a given year. Results show that lifetime exposures to coresidence with primary and non-primary kin and to solo living differs substantially across societies, with exposures to primary kin alone and to solo living substantially higher at higher levels of HDI. They also reveal a sustained decline in coresidence with non-primary kin and others nearly everywhere, supporting the idea of a progressive nuclearization of family life. This trend is most pronounced at medium levels of HDI. At very high levels, however, lifetime exposures to coresidence with primary kin alone are stalling or are in decline in favor of greater exposure to solo living and, rather unexpectedly, to even greater life-time exposures to non-primary kin and others, implying an underlying trend towards more complex living arrangements, as best exemplified by the US case. We suggest different interpretations for these results.  



Albert Esteve demographer and researcher is director of the Center for Demographic Studies-CED and Professor at the Department of Sociology-UAB. He has done research stays at the University of Minnesota, at the Institute National d'Études Démographiques in Paris and at Princeton University. He has been a fellow of the Ramón y Cajal program at the CED. He has obtained funding for research from the Government's National R&D Plan, from the Generalitat of Catalonia, and from the different framework programs of the European Union. He has just obtained an Advanced Grant CORESIDENCE, project funded by the European Research Council. Investigates aspects related to demographics, marriage formation, marriage markets and the structure of households, both nationally and internationally. His participation in research infrastructure projects related to the harmonization and dissemination of microdata of the Population Censuses, a task he carries out in close collaboration with the Population Center of the University of Minnesota. His works can be read in journals such as Annual Review of Sociology, World Development, Population Development Review or Demography, among others. He has been the editor of the European Journal of Population and currently is the director of the European Doctoral School in Demography in Barcelona.



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