Starting a new family, expanding your current family, and breaking up your family all are important events that structure your life. We study why, when, and by whom families are formed and broken up. We are also interested in relationships between family members, and pay specific attention to how behavior is transferred from parents to their children. This is an important way in which existing inequalities in a society can be reproduced. These issues are studied from a life course perspective. This means that people are followed over a longer period of time, which makes it possible to study how events that happen early in life may have consequences later in life. By comparing family formation processes and family relationships in different societies, we examine how the family is affected by characteristics of a society, such as its economic conditions or family policies.
What are we working on?
In our theme group we draw together different stages and domains of the life course. In a recent Veni project, we link experiences of out-of-home care in childhood to later-life family formation, employment, and crime. In other projects, we study how employment careers influence family formation and health behaviors. We also study health in the CREW project, in which we compare the health and well-being of older adults in multiple countries. In another recent project, we focus on the breaking up rather than the formation of families.
An important part of our work has to do with the collection of data and the development of data infrastructures. We coordinate the Generations and Gender Programme, which provides researchers with data on causes and consequences of demographic developments. We also coordinate wave 10 and 11 of the European Social Survey in the Netherlands and participate in the Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud.