CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Based on the data from INED’s “Biographies et Entourage” (biographies and family circle) survey, this paper explores the family ties of residents in Ile-de-France (greater Paris region) aged 50 to 70 in 2000. Respondents were studied both as children, i.e.their involvement with their parents, and as parents, through the relationships they have with their adult children. The concept of entourage (family circle) in the survey takes a broader view of the family than the sole functions of service and money provider. The average size of the respondents’ family circle is seven to eight people. Fifteen percent of respondents live close to their parents and twenty percent live close to their children. More than half of women surveyed are in contact with their mothers at least once a week, and two-thirds of the oldest cohorts (over 60) have weekly contact with their adult children. Based on three indicators – emotional closeness, geographical distance and frequency of contact – the involvement of the cohorts aged 50 to 70 in the family network still appears strong, even if inter-generational ties have changed significantly in recent decades. Indeed, although the cohorts studied in the survey initiated new family behaviour (living together outside wedlock, divorce, etc.), the majority have developed different relationships within the family in their mature years. However, these changes should not overlook the continuity of family ties nor the breakdowns that have occurred in some families.

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