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Gender, Policies and Population

European Population Conference 2012, held in Stockholm, Sweden, 13-16 June 2012

This year’s European Population Conference of the European Association for Population Studies in cooperation with the Stockholm University Demography Unit (SUDA) from 13 to 16 June 2012 in Stockholm focused on presenting the latest research results and the current state of research and, in particular, on the main theme “Gender, Policies and Population”. Scientists from the BiB also took part in the international conference, which had a good 900 participants, and presented their own research results in lectures and poster sessions from their field of research, which will be presented here in abridged form.

Tineke Fokkema, Robert Naderi: Older Turkish Migrants in Germany – Why Do They Have a Higher Risk of Feeling Lonely?

The embedment of older people is due to the demographic transition in the most developed countries an important social question. This does not only affect the intergenerational relation and actual networks. It is also a question if and how older people feel embedded or lonely. This question is even more important looking at migrant populations. Many of the first generation immigrants in Germany are retired and do not intend to return to their country of origin for several reasons. It is a common belief that older migrants are, on average, lonelier than their native-born counterparts. Coping with differences in culture and social norms, language difficulties, adverse health status, economic hardship, being homesick, missing and worrying about their families and friends left behind, and the return-or-stay dilemma are often cited as the primary causes of their higher levels of loneliness. In this paper, we will examine the differences in the prevalence of later-life loneliness and its determinants between Turkish older migrants, aged 50-79, living in Germany and their German peers with no migration background. The data are from the first wave of the German Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) conducted in 2005, and an additional survey from 2006 of Turkish nationals in Germany. For the comparison only Germans without migration background are included to the analysis. To identify the factors explaining possible differences in loneliness among the two groups, multivariate regression analyses will be performed using the six-item De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale as dependent variable. Aim of this paper is to understand differences in loneliness between the two populations in Germany and to find explanatory factors.

Robert Naderi, Jürgen Dorbritz: Transitions of Non-Marital Unions within Three Years in Comparison between Turkish Nationals in Germany and Germans without Migration Background

In the past ten years the existence of non-marital relationships increased over 30 percentage points and is one of the most important alternative living arrangements in Germany. Although the vast majority is married many couples start their relationship unmarried and remain for a longer period in that status than in former times. This leads to important and interesting questions: What makes a non-marital union durable and what circumstances lead to transition to marriage (or dissolution)? Is the non-marital union more or less a pre-stage or an option and for whom? The hypotheses in this paper are following the idea that attitudes are mainly explanatory for the durability of non-marital unions in the way that certain respondents dismiss marriage. Those attitudes are at the same time influenced by cultural factors whereby Turkish citizens have more often positive attitudes towards marriage and lower acceptance of non-marital living arrangements compared to Germans without migrations background. Additionally certain circumstances have an impact on the decision to stay unmarried as a couple or not. Those factors are for instance the birth of a child what will lead most likely to marriage or changes in job status and income level. This paper aims to analyze the factors for transition of non-marital unions in a longitudinal and comparative way. Using the two waves of German Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) for both groups of respondents (Turkish citizens and Germans without migration background) unmarried respondents from the first wave and the development in the second wave will be analyzed as dependent variable. The main independent variables are the migration background, attitudes, values, birth of children and socio-economic variables.

Can Aybek, Gaby Strassburger, İlknur Yüksel, İsmet Koç: Spouse Selection and Marriage Processes in a Transnational Setting – Results from a Longitudinal Qualitative Study

Studies investigating the marriage patterns of immigrants in Germany point out that with regard to immigrants from Turkey the vast majority of the concluded marriages are intra-ethnic, and an important share of these marriages are apparently at the same time transnational. Quantitative as well as qualitative studies that have been conducted on this subject focus on the perceptions and preferences of the spouses residing in Germany. In order to understand the characteristics of the partnership formation and the marriage migration processes better, the perceptions of both spouses have to be taken into consideration. This aim is at the core of our study entitled Marriage Migration from Turkey to Germany – A Qualitative Longitudinal and Dyadic Perspective. We conducted in-depth interviews with spouses who were at the time of the first interview living in Turkey and respectively resided in Germany. The interviews were done with both females and males and included biographical narratives as well as instant narrations about ongoing experiences at different time points. As a consequence, we have first-hand reports of individuals who were engaged in a transnational partnership and reported about issues such as how their relation started, which factors affected the decision to conclude a marriage with a person living in another country, etc.. This study tries to map out how the spouse selection and marriage processes are evolving in the case of transnational marriages. Obviously gender specific issues are of central importance to our analyses. The analysis of the interviews not only allowed us delineate characteristics that are specific to relationships on distance, but also contributed to a better understanding of spouse selection and partnership formation processes in a transnational context.

Thomas Skora, Gil Viry, Heiko Rüger: Job-Related Spatial Mobility Trajectories and Their Association with Social Structure – Evidence from Germany

Job-related spatial mobility has become a widespread phenomenon in contemporary European societies. In the Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe (JobMob) study dealing with a broad concept of mobility that involves types of circular mobility (e.g. long distance commuting, frequent stays overnight) as well as types of relocation mobility (migration, residential relocation), job-related mobility presents itself as a very common element of occupational life in Europe: 16% of people working for pay are currently mobile for job reasons. All in all, around half of the people working for pay have gained experience with mobility. The research on migration and mobility has been enriched by placing it within the framework of the life course. However, regarding the state of mobility research in a life course perspective, two desiderata can be stated. Firstly, the majority of mobility research focuses on discrete events in life course, neglecting to capture and describe whole trajectories. Secondly, to our knowledge there are no studies up to now focusing on job-related spatial mobility trajectories, considering different types of relocation and circular mobility. Our aim is to fill this gap by extracting entire trajectories of occupation and job-related spatial mobility, applying sequence analysis techniques on data from Germany providing detailed information about past job events and experiences with different types of job-induced spatial mobility. Subsequently, associations between mobility trajectories and socio-structural characteristics are analyzed, complementing existing findings of cross-sectional research by applying longitudinal information. For example, the traditional assumption that spatial mobility is positively associated with economic gain can only be partly confirmed. According to our results, it depends on the length and continuity of employment and spatial mobility periods, as well as on the dominant form of mobility in the life course.

Katharina Becker: What Do They Know? What Do We Know? Divergency in the Partners’ Statements on the Couple’s Contraception

In demography and social sciences, contraception is rarely addressed from a couple perspective. Existing findings on contraceptive behaviour mainly are based on information mentioned by only one of the partners, in most cases the female partner. Only few studies provide information on contraception from both partners, giving insight into birth control practices within the couple. Hence, ambivalence, misconceptions and ambiguities in the partnerships’ contraception are rarely analysed systematically on broad database. Starting on this point, the paper analyses the dyadic perspective by regarding both partners’ statements on contraception. First findings indicate that overall, within every fourth partnership, discrepant statements on a) the question if they do practice contraception (yes or no) b) the contraceptive (method), and c) the consistency (how consequently did they use the method) can be noticed. Even when controlling for essential factors, like sex, the findings hold, indicating that we are dealing with a general phenomenon, bringing about implications for couples’ fertility and fertility research as well. A first aim of the paper is to analyse the disparity in the two different methodic approaches, comparing findings of studies on contraception in partnerships that are based on one partner’s evaluation versus multi-actor-evaluation surveys. Further, with regard to partners’ discrepancy, the paper pursues two more general goals: a) analysing influencing factors on discrepant partners’ statements on contraceptive behaviour and b) describing outcomes of the different convergence-divergence-patterns. Using multi-actor-data provided by the first and second wave of the German representative study Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam), several hypotheses are put to test in bi- and multivariate analyses. For example, it is assumed that consistency in the couples’ answers is positively related to a) the partnership duration, b) the fertility history of the couple, and c) the homogeneity of the partners in socio-economic regards.

Frank Micheel, Ines Wickenheiser: The Impact of Socioeconomic Characteristics on Older Employees' Intentions to Continue Working in Retirement Age

This paper aims to explore the question of whether and to what degree information on socioeconomic status (SES) – measured by professional status and disposable household income – can make reliable statements on older employees’ intentions to continue working in retirement age. These observations are controlled for professional and individual characteristics. The data basis is constituted by a sample survey entitled Weiterbeschäftigung im Rentenalter (Employment after Retirement) with N = 1,500 dependent employees aged from 55 to under 65 in Germany. Results of logistic regressions show that information on SES make a statistically significant contribution towards explaining willingness to continue working in retirement: In comparison to employees with a lower or medium professional status, those individuals who have a high professional status tended to be significantly more willing to remain in working life for longer. There is a negative connection between disposable household income and willingness to remain in employment in retirement age. The significant effects that were found are however restricted to the respondent women.

Lenore Sauer, Kerstin Ruckdeschel, Robert Naderi: Interviewer Effects and Reliability of Retrospective Event Histories within the German Generations and Gender Survey

The life-course perspective is crucial for the explanation and understanding of demographic behaviour – especially of family formation. Therefore one of the main objectives of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) was to provide researchers with the information on individuals’ life course. There are two main approaches to gather this kind of information: either a prospective approach including a panel design or retrospective questions. Both possibilities have been applied in the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS), but obviously, in the first wave only the retrospective part could be used for event analyses. However, there are known problems concerning the quality of retrospective data, especially a full recollection of past events. In the German national sample such problems evolved in the retrospective part of the survey dealing with fertility histories and marital status. The results differ considerably from vital statistics and the state of the art. Childlessness is generally and especially in older cohorts overreported and the results concerning ever married women are implausible - their share in older cohorts is too low. In this paper we investigate different reasons for this problem. First of all we identify the main distortions and the most affected groups. We then try to identify possible sources of distortions: the sampling procedure, the instrument and the interview situation. We are using several sources of comparison for this undertaking: GGS data of other countries and a second supplementary GGS sample of Turkish nationals living in Germany. Special attention is given to an extensive interviewer control taking into account several kinds of “learning effects” to shorten parts of the interview which could result in the contamination of the data. Finally we discuss possible solutions in order to provide the users of the German GGS with recommendations how to deal with these problems when analysing related questions.

Andreas Mergenthaler: Social Determinants of Health Resilience among the Elderly – Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel

The objective of the study is to examine whether distinct forms of health lifestyles as well as individual and collective social capital predict the probability of health resilience among a cohort of men and women aged 65 and older from lower social strata. The method employed a longitudinal study design based on data from four waves (2002 to 2008) of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The study cohort included 2,075 participants. Analyses were performed using hierarchical-linear models and binary logistic regressions. The two main outcome measures were health-related quality of life, based on a modified form of the SF12, and a dichotomised measure for health resilience based on the SF12 scores. A health gradient was observed for the physical health of men and for the mental health women, respectively, with participants from lower social strata reporting lesser scores of health-related quality of life compared to participants with higher socioeconomic status. Regarding the physical resilience of elderly men, a moderate health-conscious lifestyle was the most pronounced predictor (OR=9.5, 95%-CI: 5.9-15.4). Compared to men with a health-risk lifestyle, even the group with a moderate health-risk lifestyle had 4.7 (95%-CI: 3.1-7.1) times the odds of being physically resilient. Social capital did not elevate the probability of physical resilience among men. Mental resilience of women was strongly associated with a health-conscious lifestyle (OR=4.2, 95%-CI: 3.0-5.9) as well as a moderate health-risk lifestyle (OR=4.1, 95%-CI: 2.9-6.0). Quantitative aspects of social capital, like an above-average number of friends and close relatives, were positively associated with mental resilience of elderly women (OR=1.9, 95%-CI: 1.5-2.5 and OR=1.3, 95%-CI: 1.0-1.7, respectively). The data provides evidence that health-conscious as well as moderate health-risk lifestyles and quantitative aspects of individual social capital serve as protective factors for health resilience among older men and women with low socioeconomic status.

Bernhard Gückel, with assistance by Katharina Becker, Thomas Skora, Robert Naderi, Andreas Mergenthaler, Frank Micheel, Lenore Sauer, Can Aybek and Heiko Rüger

The photo shows a staff member of the BiB at the CPoS information desk and a conference attendee at the European Population Conference, 13-16 June 2012, Stockholm, Sweden.Editor Katrin Schiefer gave interested scientists a look at the online journal of the BiB with informative flyers and printed articles from the journal. Source: Photo: Katharina Becker, Copy: Bernhard Gückel


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