Death in the European Family: A Demographic Approach Using Microsimulation
Antoine Pierrard, Université Catholique de Louvain
This paper describes how the experience of death of family members has evolved since the mid-nineteenth century. It seeks to deepen and extend previous results both over time and space, by analyzing cohorts born from 1850 to 2000 in European countries (France, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and England & Wales). Using microsimulation of individual biographies, it looks at how the experience of death has changed for specific kin (parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and spouse). It also focuses on the total number of deaths cohorts have to face, as well as the rates at which death occurs in the family during the entire lifespan. Our main findings show that the experience of death in the close family has reached a historically low level, a result that has not been suggested by previous researches.