Seminar Series

| University of Wisconsin - Madison

| 07/06/2021 h.16.45

Longer lives, Later Births: Implications for Generational Overlap in Denmark

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Fertility and mortality trends are the most fundamental determinants of human populations, and Western industrialized countries have witnessed notable changes in these patterns in recent decades: fertility rates have declined, and life expectancy has continued to increase. While demographers and other social scientists have explored the broad implications of population aging, less well understood are the individual-level consequences of conjoint changing fertility and mortality patterns. In particular, there is limited information about the extent to which life courses overlap today versus in prior decades and the implications of such. In this paper, we provide new evidence about generational overlap between grandparents and grandchildren in Denmark. We describe changing patterns of grandparents being alive—and life expectancy—at grandchildren’s birth. Then, we evaluate differences in these patterns by socioeconomic status. We use an age-period-cohort decomposition approach to evaluate the conjoint influence of changing fertility and mortality patterns on the probability of generational overlap. These findings have implications for the transmission of inequality, as well as resource demands on governments.



Marcy Carlson is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her primary research interests center on the links between family contexts and the wellbeing of children and parents, with attention to poverty, inequality and public policy. Her recent work is focused on changing patterns of parenthood and family complexity. She is currently serving as Vice President of the Population Association of America.

Peter Fallesen is a Director of Research at the ROCKWOOL Foundation in Copenhagen and Associate Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University. His primary research interests lie in the intersection of family demography, family economics, and the sociology of stratification. His recent work focuses on development and consequences of new family complexities with a special focus on fertility and union dissolution. In the fall of 2021, he will be a visiting fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.