Predictors of the Historical Family Type on the Example of the Russian Empire




extended family, nuclear family, agriculture, local identity, existential insecurity


Recent studies have shown that historical family structure is of great importance, since it affects institutional and economic development. This paper concerns predictors of historical family type in the Russian Empire. The analysis is based on the 1987 census of the Russian Empire and other statistical materials referring to the same period, as well as on various global geographical databases. In total, the collected dataset contains 829 observations at the district level. The author shows that extended families were more widespread in areas: 1) with better natural conditions for farming and a large share of agricultural sector in the economy; 2) with a high level of existential insecurity; 3) populated by ethnicities with strong group identity, who tend to protect the integrity of their group, limiting contacts with outsiders. Land ownership, population density, and religion were found to be insignificant. 

Acknowledgements. The paper was prepared within the framework of the HSE University Basic Research Program. The author is grateful to N. Kirilina, V. Kozlov, A. Scherbak, and other members of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research for their useful comments.

Author Biography

Maria V. Kravtsova, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Research fellow of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research





Family and Demography