Demographic change and the supply of potential family supporters in Britain, Finland and France in the period 1911–2050/Changements démographiques et disponibilité des soutiens familiaux en Grande-Bretagne, en Finlande et en France entre 1911 et 2050

  • Michael Murphy
  • Pekka Martikainen
  • Sophie Pennec
Original Paper


We consider the contribution of changes in mortality and fertility to availability of living mothers and living children among older people in Britain, Finland and France. The proportion of people aged around 60 with a mother alive will more than double between those born in 1911 and 1970 before starting to decline slightly. Conversely, a higher proportion of elderly people are likely to have a surviving child than for any generation ever born in all three countries in the next quarter century or so, with about 85% of 80-year-old women having at least one surviving child, and about two-thirds having two or more.


Ageing Population projections Developed countries Kinship 


Cet article analyse la contribution des changements de mortalité et de fécondité sur la probabilité, pour les personnes âgées en Grande Bretagne, en Finlande et en France, d’avoir encore sa mère vivante ou d’avoir des enfants vivants. La proportion de personnes âgées d’environ 60 ans avec leur mère toujours en vie devrait doubler entre les cohortes nées en 1911 et celles nées en 1970, puis baisser légèrement par la suite. De même dans les trois pays, la proportion de personnes âgées ayant un enfant vivant devrait être plus élevée pour les cohortes à naître au cours du prochain quart de siècle qu’elle ne l’a jamais été dans le passé, avec 85 pour cent des femmes de 80 ans ayant au moins un enfant survivant, et deux tiers ayant deux enfants ou plus.


Vieillissement Projections de population Pays développés Parenté 


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The authors would like to thank F. Daguet (Insee) for providing her calculations of French data in an electronic format; and Timo Nikander from the Statistics Finland for providing much of the Finnish data in electronic format, Kari Pitkänen for useful comments on historical demographic data, and Hanna Rinne for reorganizing these data for this project. PM is funded by the Academy of Finland. We are grateful to the Office for National Statistics for access to unpublished data on true birth order, to the Government Actuary’s Department and the Office for National Statistics for access to unpublished data on mortality, and to the Office for National Statistics and the UK Data Archive for access to the GHS data for all years 1986 to 2000–2001, which has used by permission. The analysis and interpretation of the data are the responsibility of the authors alone. The research is part of an EU-funded research project, Future Living Conditions of the Elderly in Europe (FELICIE).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Murphy
    • 1
  • Pekka Martikainen
    • 2
  • Sophie Pennec
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Population Research Unit, Department of SociologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Institut national d’études démographiques (INED)ParisFrance

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