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Increasing complexity of family relationships: lifetime experience of single motherhood and stepfamilies in Great Britain

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  • Ermisch, John
  • Francesconi, Marco

Abstract

We investigate the lifetime incidence of single motherhood and the stepfamily formation in Great Britain using both retrospective and panel information contained in the British Household Panel Study, 1991-94. Our analysis indicates that about 40 percent of mothers will spend some time as a single parent. The duration of single parenthood is often short, one-half remaining single mothers for 4 years or less. About three-fourths of these single mothers will form a stepfamily, with 80 percent of these stepfamilies being started by cohabitation and 85 percent following the dissolution of a union. Stepfamilies are not very stable: over one- quarter dissolve within one year. Thus, an increasing proportion of todays young children in Great Britain are likely to experience the changes, tensions and strains which life in single- parent families and stepfamilies often entail. As a consequence, the increasing complexity of inter-household relationships between children and parents has serious implications for the relevance of theoretical views of the operation of the family put forward by social researchers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 96-11.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 1996
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:96-11

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Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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Web: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/

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Cited by:
  1. Francesconi, Marco & Muthoo, Abhinay, 2003. "An Economic Model of Child Custody," CEPR Discussion Papers 4054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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