Sibling Similarity in Family Formation

Anette E. Fasang, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Marcel Raab, WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Aleksi Karhula, University of Turku
Jani Erola, University of Turku

We propose novel research design that combines sibling comparisons and sequence analysis to analyze longitudinal family formation trajectories of siblings and unrelated persons. This allows us to scrutinize in a more rigorous way, whether there is sibling similarity in family formation trajectories and if siblings’ shared background characteristics, such as parental education and early childhood family structure can account for similarity in family formation. We use Finnish register data from 1987 until 2007 to construct complete longitudinal family formation trajectories in young adulthood for siblings and unrelated dyads (N=14,259 dyads). Findings show that siblings’ family formation is moderately but significantly more similar than for unrelated dyads, also after controlling for crucial parental background characteristics. Particularly family formation patterns that go along with economic disadvantage are concentrated within families. This is in line with a growing body of research highlighting the importance of family structure in the reproduction of social inequality.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods