, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 2205–2228 | Cite as

Intergenerational Transmission of Multipartner Fertility

  • Trude LappegårdEmail author
  • Elizabeth Thomson


Using data from administrative registers for the period 1970–2007 in Norway and Sweden, we investigate the intergenerational transmission of multipartner fertility. We find that men and women with half-siblings are more likely to have children with more than one partner. The differences are greater for those with younger versus older half-siblings, consistent with the additional influence of parental separation that may not arise when one has only older half-siblings. The additional risk for those with both older and younger half-siblings suggests that complexity in childhood family relationships also contributes to multipartner fertility. Only a small part of the intergenerational association is accounted for by education in the first and second generations. The association is to some extent gendered. Half-siblings are associated with a greater risk of women having children with a new partner in comparison with men. In particular, maternal half-siblings are more strongly associated with multipartner fertility than paternal half-siblings only for women.


Multipartner fertility Intergenerational transmission Family stability Register data 



This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway (202442/S20) and the Swedish Research Council through support for the Linneaeus Center for Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe (SPaDE) as well as by Stockholm University Demography Unit and Statistics Norway Research department. The register collection, Sweden in Time – Activities and Relations (STAR) is supported in part by grants from the Swedish Research Council. We are grateful for research assistance on the Swedish data from Jani Turunen. The findings and views reported in this article are those of the authors alone.


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© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Human GeographyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Research DepartmentStatistics NorwayOsloNorway
  3. 3.Demography Unit, Department of SociologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Center for Demography and Ecology, Department of SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

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