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Germany: Family diversity with low actual and desired fertility

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  • Jürgen Dorbritz

    (Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany)

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    Abstract

    Germany is a low-fertility country with a rapidly ageing population, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. There are several reasons for this trend. Germany is among the countries with the highest rates of childlessness in the world, and childlessness has become widely accepted. This is illustrated by changes in living arrangements. A broad range of living arrangements has been added to the basic model of marriage with children; namely, single living, non-marital cohabitation, lone parenthood, patchwork families and living apart together. A culture of individualism has spread in Germany which forms the basis for widespread decisions against family formation. The desired number of children has become low and family policy is considered to be a failure in terms of its influence on fertility. German family policy has had a traditional orientation centred on monetary support to families and on the promotion of the male breadwinner model. Women have been largely forced to choose between family and work, and leave the labour market when a child is born. The still prevailing concept of family policy does not help to reduce the pressure to choose between work and family life, and thus makes it easier to decide not to have children, especially for highly educated women. A change in family policy is needed which will enable couples to choose between the breadwinner-housewife and the reconciliation model. Gradually, this change is starting to take place.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 17 (July)
    Pages: 557-598

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:19:y:2008:i:17

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: childbearing; family; fertility; Germany;

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    Cited by:
    1. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Hener, Timo & Rainer, Helmut, 2013. "Does the Expansion of Public Child Care Increase Birth Rates? Evidence from a Low-Fertility Country," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79909, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2014. "Children of a (Policy) Revolution: The Introduction of Universal Child Care and its Effect on Fertility," CESifo Working Paper Series 4776, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Katharina Herlofson & Gunhild Hagestad, 2011. "Challenges in moving from macro to micro: Population and family structures in ageing societies," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(10), pages 337-370, August.
    4. Anne Salles & Clémentine Rossier & Sara Brachet, 2010. "Understanding the long term effects of family policies on fertility: The diffusion of different family models in France and Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(34), pages 1057-1096, June.
    5. Anja Oppermann, 2012. "A New Color in the Picture: The Impact of Educational Fields on Fertility in Western Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 496, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Christian Dudel, 2009. "The Demographic Dilemma: Fertility, Female Labor Force Participation and Future Growth in Germany 2007-2060," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 158, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2013. "Does Expanding Public Child Care Encourage Fertility? County-Level Evidence from Germany," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 158, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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