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Population 2003, n°1

Population 2003, n°1



n° ISBN 2-7332-3041-7

20,00 €
  • The Local Family Circle - C. Bonvalet
  • Trajectories of Extreme Survival in Heterogeneous Populations - E. Barbi, G. Caselli, J. Vallin
  • Permanent Celibacy and Late Marriage in the Netherlands, 1890-1960 - T. Engelen, J. Kok
  • The Novelty of an Old Genre: Louis Henry and the Founding of Historical Demography - P.-A. Rosental

Short paper

  • Sex Preferences for Children Revisited: New Evidence from Germany - K. Hank, H.-P. Kohler

The Local Family Circle
Bonvalet Catherine

Despite the rise of individualism, the extended family continues to exist in urban society. The relationship between adult children and their parents take on a great variety of forms. While some keep their distance, others on the contrary remain very close. The INED survey Proches et parents [Next of kin, close friends, and relatives] has made it possible to distinguish between several types of family organization. The existence of local family circles provides evidence that contradicts the notion of a decline of the family. In the survey, 30% of the respondents were said to belong to a local family circle, because they lived in the same commune as a parent considered "close", were in contact at least once a week, and exchanged help and services with that person. Qualitative interviews provided insights into the processes underlying this type of family organization. They include several types; some are based on a "family creation" rationale, either by reproducing a family model, adopting the in-laws, or, if links have been broken with the two families of origin, by initiating this mode of functioning with one’s adult children. Other forms are not the result of a genuine choice. In this case the local family circle is rather the result of economic constraints or the existence of the ownership of a capital asset. In fact, the local family circle appears to constitute a new family lifestyle, which respects the independence of each individual and couple, and an adaptation of the complex family to urban society

Trajectories of Extreme Survival in Heterogeneous Populations
Barbi Elisabetta, Caselli Graziella, Vallin Jacques

Recent gains in life expectancy among the elderly have noticeably contributed to increasing average life expectancy in developed countries. The old and oldest old are reaching thresholds that were unthinkable 30 or 40 years ago. Are recent gains due to increased longevity among a growing proportion of the population? Or are such gains the harbinger of new frontiers that may announce the further "extension" of the survival curve? Deeper comprehension of underlying mechanisms hinges on models that consider the impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty.
In this paper, we analyse the mortality trajectories of French women born between 1820 and 1879. We applied a classic frailty model and a mixture frailty model accounting for individual differences both in the level of mortality and in the rate of aging. The survival trajectories obtained with these models were used to estimate the maximum life span. Moreover, a non-parametric approach was applied to female centenarians born in France between 1870 and 1879 to estimate the extreme age at death. Results confirm that population heterogeneity can be an important factor in the dynamics of mortality at the oldest ages. In particular, the mixture frailty model may fit the data better and estimate the possible maximum life span more accurately. A tendency towards an increasing human life span clearly emerges, without however establishing whether a limit in fact exists.

Permanent Celibacy and Late Marriage in the Netherlands, 1890-1960
Engelen Theo, Kok Jan

This article focuses on the two well-known mechanisms of marriage restraint in Europe. The leading question is whether permanent celibacy is an unintended consequence of delayed marriage or can be conceived of as a more or less independent phenomenon. We use a nationwide sample of the Dutch birth cohort 1890-1909 and compare the life courses of persons who never married and those who married at an advanced age. This analysis shows how in various regional and social sub-populations different combinations of permanent celibacy and age at marriage existed. Permanent celibacy was not simply the result of late age at marriage. We have encountered every possible combination of age at marriage and proportion single. The statistical analysis shows that each of these combinations had its own logic for the sub-population involved.

The Novelty of an Old Genre: Louis Henry and the Founding of Historical Demography
Rosental Paul-André

Why did Louis Henry create a scientific discipline - historical demography - that dominated population history from the 1950s to the 1980s, and even influenced the École des Annales? Beyond historiography and the history of demographic theories, the answer lies in the history of government, public policy, demographic institutions, and population policies. After 1945, international organizations, most notably the U.N. Population Division, placed analytical demography à la Lotka on a planetary footing. They developed a special interest in fertility. The rich countries’ baby boom undermined the concepts of demographic forecasting and demographic transition, and jeopardized the family allowance systems. World population growth raised the issue of birth control in the developing countries. Demographers wanted to determine "natural fertility" - which they assumed to be the fertility of non-contracepting populations - but were prevented by the dearth of statistical records in the Third World. For Henry, these difficulties could be overcome by the use of parish registers. The relevance of his approach was such that Alfred Sauvy at INED agreed to finance his work, and the leading demographers of his time - including Notestein, Glass, and Hajnal - were convinced from the outset that historical demography provided a major contribution to theoretical demography.