Parents, children and their families : living arrangements of old people in the XIX century, Sundsvall region, Sweden

by Fusè, Leonardo

Abstract (Summary)
This study deals with the intergenerational coresidence during the nineteenth century. The main focus is placed on the possible differences in the coresidences among parents and children and whether demographic transition and industrialization changed this relation. Were parents and children living in the same household? It was also important to study the children network; if the children did not live with their parents, where did they live? In the neighbourhoods, in the parish or in another area? Two perspectives were mainly considered, industrialization and demographic transition. On one hand industrialization gave children the opportunity to work outside the parental household and consequently the relationship between parents and children probably became weaker. On the other hand the fall of infant mortality would have facilitated the creation of a new complex household. Did industrialization with a new labour market change in decline the coresidence among parents and children? Or did the fall of mortality increase the number of coresidences? Two more factors influenced the coresidences, social status of the first generation and number of children born. The area of study is the region of Sundsvall, situated in middle Sweden. During the nineteenth century this region experienced a fall of infant mortality and in the middle of the century the introduction of steam-sawmills started and it arrived to be one of the largest sawmill districts at the world in the end of the century. The cohort chosen regarded people born between 1770 and 1820 and they lived their old age in the Sundsvall district. The first methodological approach is cross-sectional and analyses the entire cohort. The second method is a longitudinal analysis of a micro study of 135 people. The results show the decrease of the coresidences between the two generations when parents were 80 years old. In the previous years no difference has been found between the preindustrial and industrial period, thus the decline of mortality did not help the increase of coresidences. Social status was the most determinant factor for the creation of coresidence. People employed in agriculture, peasants and crofters were more likely to coreside with married children compared to the workers’ groups. Social difference increases with the industrialization, workers experienced the decline of coresidence in a stronger way compared to the others groups. The number of children born from the first generation helps in a marginal way the creation of coresidences. The main difference was between one or more children born, but no differences were found among those people who had two children or more. The micro study put in evidence the life cycle of the family. Peasants and crofters were the most likely to experience the cycle of the stem family. However the coresidence could be interrupted by the death or the migration of the family members. Other alternatives as the presences of children in the neighbourhoods or the coresidence with unmarried children were noticed. Finally, the study showed that sons were more likely to live with their parents compared to daughters but in one third of the cases the first generation constituted the stem family with a daughter.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Demography; 19th century; Demographic transition; Sundsvall; Sweden; Family planning; Household structure; Industrialization; Life-course analysis; Living arrangements; Old age; Social history


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.