The post-war trend of falling birth rates has been reversed across Europe, according to a new study. However, despite an increasing emphasis on family and fertility policies in Europe, this recent development involves social, cultural and economic factors more than individual policy interventions.
For some decades, couples have been having children later in life. But birth-rates among younger women have stabilised and the long-term trend towards lower fertility rates has been reversed.
Politicians are still left to grapple with problems associated with an ageing population as Europeans live longer and birth rates remain below the level needed to dramatically change the balance between young and older people.
In 2004, RAND Europe published a report which explored the issues associated with low birth rates in Europe. At that time the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman in every Member State of the EU. This new study updates the findings of the earlier report and examines the impact of the policy options available.
Lead author Stijn Hoorens said: 'The effects of individual policies aimed at family and fertility are relatively small and now the economic crisis has added a new level of uncertainty for policy makers. Early figures suggest that birth rates have fallen back in the wake of the economic down-turn.'
Key findings and implications
The report is available to read and download on the RAND Europe website at: http://www.rand.org/embargoed/monographs/MG1080.html
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