Fading family lines - Women and men without children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in 19th, 20th, and 21st century Northern Sweden

2019-09-06T14:04:54Z (GMT) by Martin Kolk Vegard Skirbekk
Abstract: In our study we examined the extent and why specific family lines die out. We studied the late 19th-century population of the Skellefteå region of northern Sweden and all their descendants, accounting for emigration. This was done across four generations who were observed from 1885 to 2007. The first generation in our sample consists of men and women born between 1885-1899 (N=5,850) and we identify their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We find that almost half, 48%, of the first generation did not have any living descendants (great-grandchildren) by the end of the study period. The risk of a family line ending was driven primarily either by low fertility or death during reproductive ages in the first generation. Those who left few descendants in the first generation had increased risks of not having descendants in later generations. Both high- and low-status occupational groups had greater levels of not leaving any descendants. Almost all lineages that made it to the third generation also made it to the fourth generation.