Journal of Biosocial Science

Research Article

Family Size from the Child's Point of View

C. M. Langforda1

a1 Department of Demography, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London


The mean size of sibship in which children are reared is greaterthan the mean number of children born to those children's parents' generation. In this paper, family size is considered from the child's point of view, and estimates made of how many siblings (and some other relatives) children have, using data from a survey carried out in Great Britain in the late 1960s. The size of the ‘family’ experienced by children is largerthan may at first sight appear. For example, women who married in the period 1941–55 onaverage had 2·2 children, but these women's children grew up, on average, in sibships of3·5 children; 38% of them grew up in a family with four children or more. Moreover, on average, these women's children had six uncles and aunts and possibly twice that number of first cousins. More than half of the children had at least one parent who was brought up in a family with six children or more and almost one in five had at least one parent who came from a family with ten children or more.

(Received August 10 1981)