Child-Specific Analysis of the Austrian Census 1991 (Statistik aus Kinderperspektive. Kinderspezifische Auswertung der Volkszaehlung 1991)

Beham, M., Denk, G., Lutz, W. ORCID:, Nowak, V., & Pflegerl, J. (1997). Child-Specific Analysis of the Austrian Census 1991 (Statistik aus Kinderperspektive. Kinderspezifische Auswertung der Volkszaehlung 1991). Austrian Institute for Family Studies (OeIF), Vienna, Austria (1997)

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Since census information is primarily collected with respect to heads of households, information for children is (except for the basic characteristics of age, sex and citizenship) typically not directly tabulated. If one is interested, e.g., in the question of what proportion of children lives with married parents, this is not directly visible from the tabulation of married couples by the number of children. First, one must change the basis for analysis, i.e., transform the children who are treated as an attribute of the heads of households to become the basic units of analysis and make the characteristics of their households their attributes. This is a fairly simple transformation of data which gives a very different perspective of social conditions of children.

The data show, for instance, that only 23 percent of all children live as single children, whereas 49 percent of all parents with children in the household have only one child. While the mean number of children per woman (period TFR) is presently at 1.4 children in Austria, the average Austrian child lives in a household of 2.9 children. Another surprising figure is that despite increasing proportions of non-marital unions (80 percent of new couples start living together as non-marital unions), high nonmarital fertility rates (more than 25 percent), and significant divorce rates (more than 30 percent), more than 80 percent of all Austrian children still live together with two parents who are married. The reason for this fact, which sharply contrasts the general public perception, is that the fertility of married women is still much higher than that of unmarried women, and a high proportion of non-marital unions are transformed into marriages after they have children.

For more than two decades, demographers have known that family sizes of children and family sizes of women are different (Preston, 1976), but this issue has not yet been picked up by the broader social sciences. Only a more recent emphasis on childhood research is stimulating social scientists to pay more attention to the fact that indeed the world looks rather different from the children's perspective than from the adult's. But since most statistical tools and tabulations still focus around the head of the household, who by definition is an adult, a reorientation of the statistical focus is necessary in order to arrive at appropriate statistics concerning the experiences of children. This volume attempts to make a first step by transforming the data of the most recent Austrian census in a way that will more adequately describe the living conditions of the younger generation.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: Austrian Institute for Family Studies (OeIF), Vienna, Austria (1997)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:08
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 05:00

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