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Germany: Family diversity with low actual and desired fertility

Author

Listed:
  • Jürgen Dorbritz

    (Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jürgen Dorbritz, 2008. "Germany: Family diversity with low actual and desired fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(17), pages 557-598, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:19:y:2008:i:17
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2016. "Children Of A (Policy) Revolution: The Introduction Of Universal Child Care And Its Effect On Fertility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 975-1005, August.
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:19 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Martin Klesment & Allan Puur & Leen Rahnu & Luule Sakkeus, 2014. "Varying association between education and second births in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(27), pages 813-860, October.
    6. 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.
    7. 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).
    8. repec:ura:ecregj:v:1:y:2017:i:2:p:537-549 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Francis T. Lui, 2010. "Demographic Transition, Childless Families, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 19, pages 351-373 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2013. "Does Expanding Public Child Care Encourage Fertility? County-Level Evidence from Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 158, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    11. 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.
    12. Barbara E. Fulda, 2016. "The diversity in longitudinal partnership trajectories during the transition to adulthood: How is it related to individual characteristics and regional living conditions?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(37), pages 1101-1134, October.
    13. Vanella, Patrizio, 2016. "The Total Fertility Rate in Germany until 2040 - A Stochastic Principal Components Projection based on Age-specific Fertility Rates," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-579, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    14. repec:spr:eurpop:v:33:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9429-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Valentina Tocchioni, 2016. "Exploring the childless universe: profiles and fertility intentions of men and women without children in Italy," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2016_09, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    childbearing; family; fertility; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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