Foto: Bethany Beck / Unsplash

NIDI 50 • How important are parents? • 2013

11 June 2021

Adolescents whose parents are highly educated plan their life events – like living with a partner and parenthood – much later than children whose parents have a lower level of education. This is partially due to differences in expectations that parents have for their children. Parental background influences the family life of children through transmission of opportunities and values.

This is one of the findings of the Contexts of Opportunity Project CONOPP, a large comparative study funded by the European Research Council. Does the influence of parents weaken if societies become more individualized, and children are expected to rely more on their own judgement? Do parents matter more in societies where the state does not provide a strong safety net? These are some of the questions addressed in this research.

It was found that the life choices and life chances of individuals depend on their social background. This certainly is true for how much you earn and the status of your job, but also for demographic behaviour, like leaving home, marriage, parenthood and divorce. Differences between children of high and low educated parents are visible in almost all European countries, however, the strength of this influence is weaker in countries that are more individualized and have a strong welfare state.

Also view a corresponding VIDEO on family complexity  

In 2020 we celebrated our 50th anniversary as the national demographic institute of the Netherlands. Here we look back at 50 years of NIDI research and relate that to our current research. We present insights and landmarks from some of the studies that have been conducted in the past, combined with short videos of early career scholars at NIDI, presenting current research projects on similar topics.

Back to: NIDI 50 Years • Cross sections of population research

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