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Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons


  • Olivier Thévenon


Population trends in recent years have prompted most European countries to introduce or expand family support policies. In particular, the decline in fertility since the 1970s might be harmful in the long term. The number of children per family is often below the desired number declared in surveys. State support is intended to close the gap by lowering the barriers to having children. The increase in divorce, separation and blended families, and the numbers of children born outside marriage and living with `lone' parents, have also prompted countries to increase support for families, particularly for struggling families, whose children are the most vulnerable to poverty. At the same time, governments have sought to encourage women's workforce participation by ensuring that these policies enable parents to strike a better balance between work and family. Consequently, the total investment of governments in benefits and services for families has strongly increased recently, reaching an average of 2.4% of GDP in 2003 in OECD countries, compared with 1.6% in 1980.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Thévenon, 2008. "Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 6(1), pages 165-177.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:165-177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Danièle Meulders & Jérôme De Henau & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2006. "The childcare triad? indicators assessing three fields of child policies towards working mothers in the EU-15," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7724, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. repec:cai:poeine:pope_203_0447 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Olivier Thevenon, 2006. "Régimes d'Etat Social et convention familiale : une analyse des régulations emploi-famille," Post-Print hal-00407181, HAL.
    4. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
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    1. Jonas Wood & Karel Neels & Tine Kil, 2014. "The educational gradient of childlessness and cohort parity progression in 14 low fertility countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(46), pages 1365-1416, December.

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