Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 243–260 | Cite as

Demographic Transitions and Changes in the Living Arrangements of Children: The Netherlands 1850–2010

  • Frans van Poppel
  • Niels Schenk
  • Ruben van Gaalen


The transformation of Europe’s demographic regime over the past two centuries has led to considerable changes in the living arrangements of children. We study long-term changes, making use of three datasets covering the living arrangements of children born between 1850 and 1993 in the Netherlands: a historical national sample of children born between 1850 and 1922, a retrospective survey covering children born between 1923 and 1985, and data from the national population registry relating to children born between 1986 and 1993. We describe the changes in terms of whether fathers, mothers, and stepparents lived with these children at birth and at age 15. We observe a massive increase in the percentage of children growing up in a complete family between the 1850–1879 cohort and the mid-twentieth century cohorts and a return to nineteenth-century conditions in the most recent birth cohort. Time spent in a complete family increased continuously from the mid-nineteenth century on, to decrease again from the 1960s on.


Living arrangements Family structure Children Netherlands Nineteenth and twentieth centuries Demographic transition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frans van Poppel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Niels Schenk
    • 3
  • Ruben van Gaalen
    • 4
  1. 1.Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)The HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of SociologyErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Statistics NetherlandsThe HagueThe Netherlands

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