Education and the family life course
Elizabeth Thomson, Stockholm University & University of Wisconsin-Madison
Maria E. Winkler-Dworak, Vienna Institute of Demography
Sheela Kennedy, University of Minnesota
Education is a key resource for advantages in two core domains of life, economic success and stability, and health, well-being and longevity. The gap between the less well and better educated on both dimensions accumulates over the life course, though the size of the gap and the degree of accumulation varies across societies. Beyond wealth and health, most people aspire to a stable and nurturing family life. We know a great deal about relationships between education and specific family transitions, but less about cumulative family experiences of those with more or less education. This paper identifies pathways to a standard family life course, i.e., the life course that most people believe is advantageous for individuals and societies. It examines educational differences in France, Sweden and the USA in critical junctures along the path, for younger and older cohorts and for women and men.