How many relatives do we have ?

In France, in 1990, an adult has 30 family members on average

Counting ascendants (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents), descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) and collateral relatives (brothers and sisters), an individual's immediate family circle (including the family-in-law if there is a spouse) includes 15 immediate relatives on average. Adding a similar number of uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces (non-immediate relatives), the average family network totals around 30 people.

The older we are, the larger the number of relatives we have. As old family members die and new ones are born, grandparents and parents (six people) are replaced by children and grandchildren, generally more numerous.

Conjugal status affects number of relatives and family relations

Partners in a conjugal union necessarily have a larger family (18 immediate and 23 non-immediate relatives on average) than persons living alone (10 immediate and 16 non-immediate relatives). Couples report being emotionally close to around five people in their family, while singles are close to three.

Affective ties and geographical proximity are often correlated: more than one in four adults in France live in the same municipality as their mother, and one in two in the same département. And among people reporting close ties with relatives, 51% live in the same municipality as one of their family members, or in a neighbouring one.

 

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To find out more:
The "Proches et parents" survey (Ined) was conducted in 1990 on a sample of 1,947 people representative of the French adult population. Its purpose was to describe immediate and extended family circles and to study family support networks.

Proches et parents (Bonvalet C., Maison D., Charles L., Le Bras H., Population, 48 (1), Ined, 1993
La famille et ses proches: l'aménagement des territoires (Bonvalet C., Gotman A., Grafmeyer Y. (eds), Travaux et documents, 143, Ined, 1999)
How often do adult children see their parents ? (A. Régnier-Loilier, Population and Societies, 427, Ined, 2006)


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Last update : December 28 2010