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Linkages between family background, family formation and disadvantage in young adulthood

PhD ceremony:Mr J.E. Mooyaart
When:April 24, 2019
Start:12:45
Supervisors:A.C. Liefbroer, F. Billari
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG

Linkages between family background, family formation and disadvantage in young adulthood

Increasingly, researchers claim that disparities between individuals from different family background have increased in Western societies. Relatively little research has focused on how family background impacts the process of family formation, let alone the consequences of their family decisions for their wellbeing. This dissertation focusses on two central themes, using a life-course perspective. First, it examines the influence of family background, particularly parental education, on family formation over time using Dutch and European survey data. Second, this dissertation studies the impact of family formation on income (as a financial indicator) and obesity (as a health indicator) in young adulthood, using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, a panel survey from the United States. Results show that (1) Family background continues to create a divide in family formation behavior and that there are indications that these disparities in family formation behavior between individuals from different family background could be increasing in Europe, with those from lower family background increasingly opting for parenthood outside of marriage. (2) Young adults’ own family pathways during the transition to adulthood, on top of career pathways, influence personal income and obesity in young adulthood. (3) Individuals from advantaged family background have a higher personal income compared to their disadvantaged peers, even if they follow the same career and family pathways during the transition to adulthood. All in all, this research concludes that family background (still) plays an important role in shaping family formation pathways and that this may partly explain the intergenerational transmission of (dis)advantage.