Marriage. In preindustrial Sweden, marriage was an Economic agreement between two families and not, as today, a private affair. The marriage ritual included exchanges of gifts and economic transactions between the two families. The dowry that the bride should bring into the marriage was carefully stipulated. This dowry, as well as a gift she got from her husband, belonged to her. In cases of childlessness, the dowry went back to the wife's family. Because of economic and Social differences in Sweden, there have been variations in the degree of parental control over marriage partners. Strategic marriages, even sibling exchange, have been much more Common among the wealthy farmers in the south than among the poor forest dwellers in the north. During the last twenty years, cohabitation without marriage (to sambo, sam meaning "Together with" and bo meaning "live") has increased. This form usually precedes a marriage, and it is not unusual to have Children before marrying. In 1988 a law was passed making the partners in sambo relationships almost spouses. The divorce rate has risen during the last two decades: twice as many Marriages end in divorce now as compared to 1960.
Domestic Unit. The dominant domestic units in the Peasant society were the small, extended, and nuclear families. Today the most common type is the nuclear family.
Inheritance. Until 1845 peasant daughters inherited half as much as their brothers. In 1845 equal rights of inheritance were legally stipulated. In reality, however, there were variations in inheritance practice. Many farmers, for example, on the isle of Gotland, on the plains of Skåne, and in the valley of Mälaren, had male primogeniture. Male ultimogeniture also existed. Other families practiced partible inheritance, for example in Dalecarlia and certain parts of Norrland.
Socialization. Characteristically, young children in Swedish peasant society participated in adult tasks. The children learned about working life through observation, imitation, and practice rather than by education. In three-generational domestic units, grandparents played an important role in raising children. In contemporary Swedish families it is common for both parents to work, and all children over 18 months are entitled to a place in a daily-care center up to the age of 6 years. There are also open preschools where preschoolers can meet a few times weekly in the company of a guardian. "Leisure time centers" are available for children ages 7-12 whose parents are working or studying. These centers are open Before and after school and during vacations.