In 1986, Denmark's family allowance scheme was modified by these two Acts with effect from 1 July 1987. The regular allowance and the youth allowance were abolished by the second Act and replaced by the first Act with a single allowance "for children in the family" payable with respect to every child under the age of 18. The new allowance is payable quarterly and set at DKr 1250 per quarter. Payment of the allowance is taxable in Denmark, but no longer conditional on the child being permanently resident in Denmark. Allowances are no longer dependent on the income of parents and are adjusted by a percentage fixed by law every year, rather than by the cost of living.
Fertility is now below replacement level in most European countries, especially the industrialized ones. In the last 20 years, several countries have developed or improved pronatalist programs containing incentives that are designed to motivate couples to have a 2nd and especially a 3rd child, to maintain a stable population. The WHO Sexuality and Family Planning Unit called a short consultation on this subject last October. What actually constitutes a pronatalist population program and the connections between public policies and private reproductive behavior were not very clear. Nor is it easy to assess the longer--term demographic effects of pronatalist policies or what influences their effectiveness. The outcome usually reflects the country's history, cultural and religious traditions, changes in lifestyle, and the value given to the family and children. Incentives are defined as monetary or nonmonetary inducements to voluntary reproductive behavior that conforms to specified population policies. They may be small or large, in cash or kind, parity-specific or income-linked, immediate or developed, one-time or incremental, or any combination of these. Disincentives are negative sanctions that are either incurred or thought likely as a result of violating the policy. But both incentives and disincentives are difficult to define. Pronatalist policies designed to encourage early marriage and larger families, thereby raising the future total fertility rate should not be confused with traditional social welfare policies designed simply to ease the burden of childbearing. Some policies have both demographic and social welfare aims. Strong pronatalist policies may be linked with restrictions on contraceptive availability and legal abortion. Moreover, other public policies affecting social security, education, employment, housing, regional planning and the emancipation of women may unintentionally influence demographic behavior. Population policies are the product of politics. Often written in ambiguous language and intended to affect society as a whole, they still depend for their outcome on microlevel changes in a couple's perceptions of the costs and benefits of having children. In theory, they can be carried out in many ways but in practice such policies are severely limited by administrative, political, technological, economic, and ethical constraints. One difficulty is that governments is rarely enunciate precise goals. Their approach may range from noninterference in private reproductive behavior to total coercion using controls ranging from traditional cultural influences to imposition of fertility regulations. In some countries, fertility rates have increased briefly (in terms of period rates) following introduction of pronatalist policies. However, it is not clear how the rates were influenced, particularly in the case of parities 1, 2, and 3. A forthcoming report will describe experiences in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway.
The 7 chapters in this journal discuss the European family, including families in Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the German Democratic Republic, Italy, and Sweden. The authors feel that observers in the US sometimes resort to peculiarly American explanations (the budget deficit, changes in welfare benefits) to account for recent trends in marriage and fertility. The articles in this issue demonstrate that the pattern of post-WWII family change has been generally similar in North America, Western Europe, and even part of Eastern Europe, suggesting that more global rather than particular national explanations need to be sought. The post-WWII years can be divided into 2 periods: 1) the period from 1945 to 1965 that brought the unexpected marriage rush and baby boom, and 2) the period from 1965 to the present that brought a reversal of those trends in the form of later marriage, a great increase in nonmarital cohabitation, a large rise in divorce, and a sharp fall in fertility to below the replacement level. The similarity of these large-scale trends in North America and Western Europe is striking. The US is most like Britain and, beyond Europe, Canada, and Australia, suggesting that influence of the common culture of the English-speaking Western world. Yet the US has, and probably always has had, higher rates of fertility, marriage, and divorce than most Western European nations. The proportion of single-parent families is unusually large, even though some nations such as Sweden and East Germany have higher proportions of births to unmarried but cohabiting women. The level of cohabitation in the US, although greatly increased, is still moderate by European standards. Concern over the burden of government support for the elderly already has prompted changes in the Social Security program. The ability to support programs for children and for poor families is being questioned, even though the level of government support for the family is relatively low by Western standards. Concern about the below-replacement birth rate is just beginning to emerge. For American as well as European readers, the major question left unanswered by the accounts presented in this issue is whether the continuing changes will lead to a greater degree of convergence in the future or to an elaboration of current variations on the Western theme. The former possibility would likely imply a massive erosion of marriage and radical change in the division of labor. The latter would still encompass substantial similarities (generally low fertility, increasing proportions of women in the labor force), but with important differences of historical, cultural, and political origin.
In Sweden, demographers studied labor force participation of 1 child mothers based on data from interviews with 4300 women aged 20-44 in 1981. In 1982, 2 million women and 2.3 million men were employed in Sweden, but 47% of the women worked part time ( 35 hours/week) while only 7% of the men did. The research showed that women are becoming more and more apt to work part time after the birth of their 1st child (prior to 1967, mean 12%; 1968-1974, mean 22%; 1975-1980, mean 35.7%). In addition, 1 child mothers who return to work full time following the 1st birth have a tendency to reduce working hours. Therefore, full time employment for 1 child mothers has become more temporary. On the other hand, 1 child mothers who work part time are more inclined to continue working part time until the next child is born. A positive correlation exists between length of work experience prior to 1st birth and part time work, especially if the length is 5 years. Further, the work experience of women with a low level of education increases the probability of part time work, and less so for highly educated women. Women who have worked for a while and have a more established position in their place of employment are more likely to find and keep a part time job after 1st birth than are women who do not fit this category. This new option for Swedish women of caring for the 1st child and performing domestic duties, and yet still be able to have 1 foot in the door by working part time, is called the combination strategy. Women who are opting for the combination strategy include women, who if lived in the past, would have clearly chosen the homemaker strategy of the career strategy. Further analyses, such as work-life transitions of 2 or child mothers, are needed.
Following the 2006 election, the Swedish earner-carer model of family policy seems to have come to an important crossroads, and questions have been raised about the future course of policies. Will the prototypical earner-carer model in Sweden persist? The separate reforms in cash transfers, services, and tax systems in several respects seem to point in contradictory directions, simultaneously introducing new principles of social care. In this article, past and present reforms and potential outcomes of policies are discussed from an institutional and comparative perspective. Reviewing research on outcomes of earner-carer policies for gendered patterns of productive and reproductive work, class-based stratification, child well-being, fertility, and work-family conflict, the article also contributes to the discussion about future challenges for family policy institutions in Sweden and other advanced welfare states.
Fertility trends in the 9 Eastern European socialist countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, USSR, Yugoslavia) are reviewed. Official policy in all these countries but Yugoslavia is explicitly pronatalist to varying degrees. Attention is directed to the following areas: similarities and differences; fertility trends (historical trends, post World War 2 trends, and family size); abortion trends (abortion legislation history, current legislation, abortion data, impact on birth rates, abortion seekers, health risks, and psychological aftereffects); contraceptive availability and practice; pronatal economic incentives (impact on fertility); women's position; and marriage, divorce, and sexual attitudes. The fact that fertility was generally higher in the Eastern European socialist countries than in Western Europe in the mid-1970s is credited to pronatalist measures undertaken when fertility fell or threatened to fall below replacement level (2.1 births/woman) after abortion was liberalized in all countries but Albania, following the lead of the USSR in 1955. Fertility increased where access to abortion was again restricted (mildly in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary at various times, and severely in Romania in 1966) and/or economic incentives such as birth grants, paid maternity leave, family and child care allowances, and low interest loans to newlyweds were substantially increased (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland to some extent, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the German Democratic Republic in 1976). Subsequent declines in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania suggest that policy induced increases in fertility are short-lived. Couples respond to abortion restrictions by practicing more efficient contraception or resorting to illegal abortion. It is evident that the region's low birth rate is realized mainly with abortion, for withdrawal remains the primary contraceptive method in all countries but Hungary and the German Democratic Republic. It seems that cash incentives have advanced the timing of 1st and 2nd births without substantially increasing the 3rd births required to keep national fertility above replacement level. Demographic factors alone will most likely keep birth rates low in several Eastern European countries during the 1980s and the 1990s. Due to the low birth rates in the 1960s, there will be fewer women in the prime childbearing ages of 20-29 in at least Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. It becomes clear that policy efforts to influence private reproductive behavior can only be moderately successful if the living conditions are such that women are determined not to have more than 1 or 2 children.
This paper examines the situation and problems of migration on family structure, with emphasis on family reunification. The study is based on conditions and practices in Western Europe and Mediterranean countries relating to temporary labor migration. Most migrant workers have no intention of settling permanently and return to their country within a few years. The International Labour Office estimated in 1974 that at least 1/2 the migrant workers in Western Europe live without their families. Generally, migrants send for their families only when they are employed, earning adequate wages, and have adequate housing. Some reasons why migrants live apart from their families include 1) the receiving country discourages family immigration because it does not coincide with the economic necessities of migration policy and 2) some sending countries discourage it to ensure that the migrant worker returns to his own country. The main danger arising from family separation is that it frequently leads to the break up of the family. The leading European authorities recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of a migrant worker and his family to lead a normal family life in the receiving country. The author outlines the conditions for admission for residence and employment of migrant spouses and children for the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. All countries require that the head be in regular employment for some time and be able to provide his family with suitable housing. Other problems concerning the arrival of migrant spouses and children include 1) acquiring employment and social information and counseling, 2) education of children, 3) obtaining vocational training and adaptation and 4) achieving entitlement to social security benefits. The effects of migration in the family context in sending countries include 1) providing activities for migrants to maintain cultural links with their countries of origin and 2) acquiring the nationality of the receiving countries. Countries should facilitate the admission to employment of migrant spouses and children, by maintaining provisions for the reuniting of families and imposing no limits on admission to residence; and 2) by overcome obstacles to admission to employment, by observing existing recommendations. In conclusion, governments should give family cohesion 1st priority, regardless of regulations.
Fertility levels are currently very low in western Europe, accelerating the process of demographic aging. This aging process cannot be offset by any realistic degree of immigration. Most European couples are not limiting family size because they want to be childless or because they prefer 1-child families. Rather, most would prefer to have 2 children, but are hampered in achieving their reproductive goals by economic uncertainties and the difficulties women face combining paid work with the duties of motherhood. Western European efforts to increase fertility, if possible, to replacement level are described dating back to the 1930s. Policies in Sweden have reduced the levels of economic insecurity for families and made it easier for women to both participate in the labor force and have children. These policies have increased fertility in Sweden. In contrast, however, Italy has taken no such action, and average family size in that country has fallen to 1.2 children. Fertility in Australia is also noted.
2nd only to Ireland in total fertility, Sweden has the highest total fertility (TFR) and female labor force participation rates (FLFPR) among European countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 1988 TFR and FLFPR were 1.96 and 80.1%, respectively. This paper considers the role of public policy in creating this unique trend, with particular focus on family leave policy. In 1974, Sweden became the 1st country to allow leave to both parents following childbirth. By 1990, leave duration had grown from an initial 6-month period to 15 months. In addition, subsidized day care, flexible working hours, and economic support to families with children is provided in the context of a family-supportive tax structure. While generous, benefits are related to work and income history. Labor income is replaced at 90% of gross earnings, while the unemployed receive only minimal taxable flat payments. Benefits overall are paid from general taxes. Given that benefits reflect job history and income, and income level tends to rise fastest in the initial stages of employment, women in Sweden postpone childbirth in order to realize wage increases and greater job standing over the short- to medium-terms. In sum, Sweden's policies stimulate both fertility and women's paid work by reducing the costs of having children while requiring parents to be employed to receive full benefits. This paper further reviews the development of parental leave and related policies and compares Swedish fertility, female labor force participation, and parental leave benefits to those of countries in the European Community.
French population policy developments since 1945 are reviewed and compared to events in other developed countries. The author notes that the original objectives of French policy were to ensure a certain standard of living to children in families, regardless of the size of the family. However, over the course of time, the right not to have more children than parents wanted became another policy objective. He also notes that the level of support for families has declined in real terms over time and that France has now been overtaken by other Western countries, such as Sweden and the United Kingdom.