Changes in Length of Grandparenthood in Finland 1790-1959


  • Simon N. Chapman University of Turku
  • Mirkka Lahdenperä University of Turku
  • Jenni E. Pettay University of Turku
  • Virpi Lummaa University of Turku


ageing [], demographic transition, intergenerational relations, mortality []


The importance of grandparents for their grandchildren is well-studied in several disciplines, and studies are now also addressing the potential effects of grandchildren on grandparental wellbeing. Any such effects are limited by the time grandparents share with their grandchildren. Changing child mortality rates, grandparental longevity, and childbearing patterns may have profoundly altered the length of grandparenthood across the demographic transition, but this has received little scientific attention. Using a genealogical dataset from Finland, we investigate changes in this shared time, from the late 18th to mid-20th century. We found the number of shared years between grandparents and grandchildren was low until roughly the onset of industrialisation in Finland, after which point shared time increased rapidly, from both the grandchild and grandparent perspectives. Understanding changing patterns in the opportunity for intergenerational transfers between grandparents and grandchildren has implications for several fields of study, including biology, demography, sociology, health studies, and economics.




How to Cite

Chapman, S. N., Lahdenperä, M., Pettay, J. E., & Lummaa, V. (2017). Changes in Length of Grandparenthood in Finland 1790-1959. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, 52, 3–13.