Blended Families, Sibling Structure and Child Outcomes in Sweden

Donna K. Ginther, University of Kansas
Marianne Sundström, Swedish Institute for Social Research

Although the association between childhood family structure and adult outcomes has been much studied, little attention has been paid to the impact of sibling structure. Björklund et al. (2007) find for Sweden that the number of half siblings is more negatively related to educational attainment than the number of full siblings. We investigate whether outcomes are influenced by the sibling structure in the family using a random sample of 35,000 individuals and their siblings. We compare children who spent part of childhood in a ‘blended’ family by educational attainment and earnings to those of who lived in a traditional ‘nuclear’ family or in a single parent family. In addition, we use sibling-difference models to analyze whether any negative associations are causal effects or the result of selection. Finally, we analyze whether marital status of blended families makes a difference for children’s outcomes using the 1989 marriage boom in Sweden.

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Presented in Session 177: Multi-Partnered Fertility, Complicated Families, and Child Wellbeing