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Population Estimates of Extended Family Structure and Size

Garceau A.a · Wideroff L.a · McNeel T.c · Dunn M.d · Graubard B.I.b
aDivision of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch, and bDivision of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Biostatistics Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., cInformation Management Services Inc., Silver Spring, Md., and dWestat Inc., Rockville, Md., USA Community Genet 2008;11:331–342 (DOI:10.1159/000133305)


Background: Population-based estimates of biological family size can be useful for planning genetic studies, assessing how distributions of relatives affect disease associations with family history and estimating prevalence of potential family support. Methods: Mean family size per person is estimated from a population-based telephone survey (n = 1,019). Results: After multivariate adjustment for demographic variables, older and non-White respondents reported greater mean numbers of total, first- and second-degree relatives. Females reported more total and first-degree relatives, while less educated respondents reported more second-degree relatives. Conclusions: Demographic differences in family size have implications for genetic research. Therefore, periodic collection of family structure data in representative populations would be useful.


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