LONGPOP | Wellbeing and determinants of lone parenthood in Flanders
Individual life course trajectories across generations to investigate early life conditions, adulthood, partnership, family formation & divorce.
Horizon 2020, Parenthood, Divorce, Demography, Population, Economics, History, GIS, Big Data
page,page-id-15933,page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,side_area_uncovered_from_content,qode-theme-ver-8.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.9.2,vc_responsive

Sam Jenkinson – ESR7: Linking individual lives in intra-intergenerational longitudinal perspective.

Longpop photo

University of Leuven, Center for Sociological Research, Family and Population Studies.


Prof. Koen Matthijs mail: Koen.Matthijs@soc.kuleuven.be


The diversity of partnership and family formation behavior and its variegated consequences are a central focus of family research. In many contexts, the increasing incidence of alternatives to marriage (cohabitating and many other types of partnerships) have been accompanied by high levels of marriage and partnership dissolutions, and more complex living arrangements for children. These behaviors and the processes behind them are often tracked via segments of time from individual lives. Individual life course trajectories are identified with regard to timing, status, durations and sequences of key events. Also fundamental to this life course approach is the connection between individuals, their kins and significant others. The social networks in which the individual is embedded and the feedback mechanisms are now viewed as essential to explanations of all manner of individual behaviors, especially in the family domain. Both conceptually and practically, this implies linking large numbers of individual time segments from large samples or populations to those of all relevant network others. Capturing the situation for particular periods and change over time means accounting for intra- and intergenerational connections that involves connecting historical and contemporary sources. Comparisons across geographic context further multiply the scale and complexity and bring the scope of work into the realm of ‘big data’. This PhD project addresses the unique opportunity to analyze and highlight causes and consequences of diverse life course patterns which are highly associated with economic uncertainty, state of well-being and growing social inequality. Construction of individual life course trajectories across generations allow us to investigate broad research domains including early life conditions, adulthood, partnership and family formation, occupational careers and retirement (i.e. healthy ageing). The ESR is expected to make use of longitudinal, intra-intergenerational data sources from both historical and contemporary sources as follows. Historical sources: COR multi-level and multi-source database (1846-1912; N=33,583); parish register from the province of West-Flanders (1600-1800; N=383,701); vital registration records on marriage certificates from the province of West-Flanders (1800-1913; N=425,811). Contemporary sources: Relationships in Flanders data set: http://www.scheidinginvlaanderen.be/


The research output must be delivered in line with the overall PhD project. Along with the research plan and use of individual based data sets, the following outputs are envisaged:

  1. Concepts and techniques for individual record linkage accompanied with algorithms and syntaxes to construct intra-intergenerational and individual life course trajectories from multi-source database;
  2. Research design: PhD research proposal including activities to visit to other beneficiaries (training or research visit) and time planning;
  3. Implementation of longitudinal data analysis including harmonization and transformation of historical and contemporary individual based data sets, adjusted to own PhD research design;
  4. Research papers on individual life courses in intra-intergenerational longitudinal perspective, including early life conditions, adulthood, partnership and family formation, occupational careers and retirement.


7.1. Concepts and techniques for individual record linkage. Algorithms and relevant syntaxes to construct intergenerational life course trajectories from original or IDS-converted multi-level and multi-source databases.
7.2. Research Design: PhD research design and work plan to carry out PhD research.
7.3. Methodologies and techniques for the longitudinal analysis: harmonization and transformation of historical data sets (1).
7.4. Methodologies and techniques for the longitudinal analysis: harmonization and transformation of historical data sets (2).



Jenkinson S., Matsuo H., Matthys K. (2020) Multi-dimensional Subjective Wellbeing and Lone Parenthood Following Divorce in Flanders (Northern Belgium). In: Mortelmans D. (eds) Divorce in Europe. European Studies of Population, vol 21. Springer, Cham.


Sam Jenkinson studied history and politics at the University of Glasgow before going on to study a masters in economic history at the University of Lund. As part of the LONGPOP project he now works at the Family and Population Studies group at KU Leuven as a PHD student. His project is entitled Linking Individual lives in intra-intergenerational longitudinal perspective. His PHD research looks at the determinants of diverse life course patterns through the opportunities provided by big data. He looks specifically at the various and changing forms of family formation and particularly at lone parenthood and its consequences in the context  of  economic insecurity, well-being and growing inequality.

Contact: sam.jenkinson@kuleuven.be

Link to his ResearchGate profile here.