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The household structure: recent international evolution

García, Lucia and Molina, José Alberto (2017): The household structure: recent international evolution.

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Abstract

This paper analyses the recent international evolution of the household structure. Why do humans live in families? Most households are formed between two specific individuals for reasons of love, companionship, and procreation, and purely biological motives come into play when males and females only care about their genetic fitness, that is, the survival and propagation of their own genes. Becker (1976) provides a new reason for forming households: the efficiency gains from trade that a man and a woman can realize by marrying. The gains to marriage arise from gender specialization in home and market activities and there may be economies from joint consumption. Our results first indicate an increment in ageing populations, plus a declining trend in the youth population. Secondly, increases in the number of childless couples and, third, the same will happen to single-parent households, in which there appears to be an upward trend. Finally, we will see how certain policies have influenced and affected household structures and financial conditions and outcomes.

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