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Family Networks

Selected findings from SHARE First Results Books:

  • The family unit has remained strong across generations: The family plays an important role in the lives of older people throughout Europe. Today, more people than ever before have living children when reaching old age. However, the SHARE data shows that significant differences between southern and northern Europe exist with regard to living arrangements, family structure, proximity and contacts. In Denmark, for example, only 13 per cent of respondents live with their offspring. The corresponding figure for Spain is 52 per cent, and more than 80 per cent of people live in the direct vicinity of their children. A similar contrast is apparent in terms of the amount of contact parents have with their children: while 42 per cent of Danes see their parents every day, the corresponding figure for respondents in the Mediterranean countries nudges 86 per cent. Still, the potential for everyday family support is high all across Europe. Particularly time spent helping others or looking after grandchildren is substantial: About a third of the persons age 65 and over reported that they helped others or looked after grandchildren on a daily basis, and they spent on average 4.6 hours per day on such activities.
  • Parents give in the North, while children give in the South: The SHARE data show that intergenerational financial transfers are a major source of household wealth, but there is a clear North–South gradient. In the North, younger individuals receive more from their parents, while in the South, younger individuals frequently provide more for their parents. The study also shows that the distribution of inheritances is also very unequal. In terms of amounts inherited, the top 5 per cent of households have received about two thirds of all inheritances.

More SHARE Research Findings:

Children’s Education Prolongs Parents’ Life

A new study based on SHARE data finds that people who have children with a higher education than themselves live longer than those with lower-educated children.

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The Effects of Divorce on Grandparental Childcare

Study based on SHARE data shows that divorced grandparents provide less care for their grandchildren than married grandparents. In countries where divorce is more common, however, this disruptive effect is significantly weaker.

>> Read more


Grandparenthood and life satisfaction

New study explores the link between having grandchildren and life satisfaction with the help of SHARE data.

>> Read more


How providing care affects caregivers' mental health

Providing care to a parent can have a negative impact on the mental health of the adult child, finds new SHARE-based study.

>> Read more


Regional availability of formal long-term care and the well-being of spousal caregivers

SHARE-based study examines how having control over the care situation affects one’s well-being

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The motives for caring for dependent parents

SHARE-based study finds that long-term care in Europe is driven by altruism or family norms, depending on the region.

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Does having children make people happier in old age?

The benefits of having children for one’s quality of life highly depend on financial circumstances, according to a new study based on SHARE data.

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Positive effects of intergenerational living on older people’s mental health

SHARE-based study shows that co-residing with adult children may result in reduced levels of depressive symptom.

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The effect of care on women's mental health

SHARE-based shows how caring for elder parents may impair women’s mental health.

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The long-term effect of childhood circumstances

SHARE-based study shows how children’s living-conditions influence health in old age.

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The "grandparent effect" on education

New study sheds light on how grandparents can influence their grandchildren’s educational achievements.

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What makes the perfect grandparent?

Study about partnership status and gender of grandparents in Europe.

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More brothers – less chances for a college degree?

Study compares chances to obtain higher education in different European countries regarding number of siblings and gender inequality.

 >> Read more