Life Style

Almost 12% of children of separated parents live in joint residence

More than one in ten children whose parents are separated lives half the time with each of their parents, according to an INSEE study published on Wednesday March 3. This share has been steadily increasing since 2002, when this practice was recognized by law.

In France (excluding Mayotte), some 480,000 children shared their time equally in 2020 between two homes, or nearly 12% of minors whose parents no longer live together. Most often, the residence alternates every week, specifies the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. The other children of separated parents therefore live mainly or exclusively with one of their parents, most of them with their mother (86%).

Children “Work-study” represent 3.4% of the total of minors, against 3.0% in 2018. Between 2010 and 2016, this share had doubled, underlines INSEE. The use of this practice increases steadily with the age of the children, up to 10 years, when the proportion of work-study students reaches its maximum (15.2%). Alternate residence remains particularly rare among the youngest: only 4.2% of children under 4 with separated parents work on a work-study program.

More educated parents

According to INSEE, parents of children in alternating residence have more qualifications, including compared to parents from families. “Traditional”. They themselves are on average more educated than the parents of single-parent and step-parent families. They are also more often employed, managers or intermediate professions.

→ INVESTIGATION. Growing up between two houses

The employment rate of mothers of these children is close to that of fathers (89% against 92%), and much higher than that of mothers living in families. “Traditional” (77%) or single parent (67%). “Reconciling work and family life may be easier for parents of children working on a work-study program, many of whom live half the time without children at home”, underlines INSEE.

→ READ. Alternate residency, a good solution … on a case-by-case basis

However, mothers of work-study children four times more often work part-time than the fathers of these same children (19% versus 5%). The latter are also more often owners of their homes than mothers, and their homes are larger.


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