Fertility and social support networks: determinants of large families’ formation (ISEPR Foundation)

PROJECT: Fertility and social support networks: determinants of large families’ formation.

FUNDING: the project bases on the governmental support in a form of grant in accordance with the decree of the president of the Russian Federation of 01.04.2015 № 79-rp, and on the basis of the competition held by Institute of socio-economic and political researches (ISEPR Foundation).


RESEARCH TEAM: Nikolay EmeliyanovIvan PavlyutkinElena Prutskova, Daria OreshinaPolina Batanova (Vrublevskaya), Yana KozminaMariia Goleva, Julia Koloshenko, Olga Borisova.

DURATION OF THE PROJECT: December 2015 – September 2016


Recent studies devoted to the issues of childbirth and family development were theoretically and methodologically focused on explication of family differentiation and fertility decline. It is hard to find any relevant evidence to explain large family (family with many children) formation in ‘risk ‘and ‘individualized’ society. A large family is usually described as a factor of poverty, lack of education and adversity. Meanwhile, the formal notion “large family” includes a rather wide number of empirical cases, varying in amount of children, marriages, and birth intervals. They form clusters of families with many children, performing different types of birth motivation and lifestyles. The main assumption of the research is that different family types have different patterns of social networks (social capital, social environment, and social support). The research project aims to reveal the role of social support networks and communities as factors enforcing large family formation in Russia.


  • 20 seminars on the topic of large families, including international workshops with sociologists from the University of Bologna and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan
  • Preparation of literature reviews
  • Creation of unique questionnaire and guide for interviews with parents from large families
  • Qualitative and quantitative study in big cities (with population 250 thousand people and more)
  • Presentation of the research findings at academic events, public organizations and executive authorities (in a form of publications, monographs and analytical notes)
  • Presentation of the results within the academic and expert community.


  • 53 in-depth interviews with parents from large families and leaders of community initiatives (60 to 120 minutes) and ethnography.
  • Moscow
  • Vladimir
  • Arkhangelsk
  • A formalized survey of parents in large families in three Federal Districts: 1147 respondents, 500 families in pairs (husband and wife).