Växelvis Boende: A Common Solution for Children of Separated Parents in Sweden

Approximately 220,000 children and youth aged 0–19, whose parents do not live together, experience shared living arrangements, spending an equal amount of time with each parent. This is known as “växelvis boende” and is more prevalent among children aged 6–9 compared to younger and older age groups. The practice is also more common among children whose parents have higher incomes.

Key Findings:

  1. Overall Distribution:
    • Of the nearly 490,000 children and youth with parents living at different addresses, and the child registered with one parent, about 220,000 practice växelvis boende.
    • Approximately 205,000 predominantly reside with their mothers, while around 40,000 mostly live with their fathers.
  2. Age-Related Patterns:
    • Växelvis boende is most common among children aged 6–9 and less prevalent among younger and older age groups.
    • Younger and older children are more likely to predominantly live with their mothers, while living predominantly with fathers is approximately equally common across all age groups.
  3. Differences Across Demographics:
    • There are variations in living arrangements based on the child’s background. Växelvis boende is more common among children with Swedish backgrounds, whereas living predominantly with mothers is more common among children with foreign backgrounds.
    • Disparities are also observed based on parental education and income. Växelvis boende is most common among children with parents holding post-secondary education and those in the top 25% income bracket.
  4. Parental Agreements:
    • A significant percentage of parents, 76% of mothers and 88% of fathers, report having mutually agreed on the child’s living arrangement. Most parents express satisfaction with the chosen living arrangement.
    • However, challenges in reaching agreements, especially in ongoing custody disputes, are noted. Mothers often cite the other parent’s lack of interest, while fathers more frequently mention exclusion from decisions regarding the child’s living arrangements.
  5. Financial Arrangements:
    • Many parents have independently agreed on financial arrangements regarding the child, with nearly half of mothers and three-quarters of fathers opting for solutions like splitting costs evenly or paying for the child when in their care.
    • Maintenance support via Försäkringskassan is common, particularly among mothers, with over a third utilizing this support.
    • For parents who exchange financial support, almost half follow the same amount as Försäkringskassan’s maintenance support. A little over a quarter independently determine the amount, and a similar proportion use Försäkringskassan’s calculation tool.

This comprehensive report sheds light on the diverse living arrangements and agreements among separated parents in Sweden, highlighting the importance of understanding the nuances of family dynamics in various demographic contexts.