Projects dealing with significant demographic and societal changes impacting the living situation of children and families.
The “Reproductive decision-making in a micro-macro perspective” (REPRO)project is aimed at generating new evidence-based and policy-oriented knowledge on factors driving changes in birth rates and influencing reproductive decision-making within Europe. The project was funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme and coordinated by the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (VID). REPRO looked at these problems from three analytical perspectives (macro, micro and macro-micro level) with varying methodological approaches within eight work packages. At the macro level, recently observed fertility trends across Europe and their association with selected macro-level social, economic and institutional indicators were analysed. At the micro level social-psychological theory of planned behaviour was applied for examining the process of reproductive decision-making. This included demographic research on fertility intentions of individuals/couples, panel data on the (non-) realisation of fertility intentions as well as information from available qualitative surveys. Findings from both levels were integrated through a micro-macro approach based on multilevel statistical models and comparable data-sets on fertility intentions and behaviours. While the overall objective was to create analysis of the impact and interrelatedness of a diverse range of factors driving changes in birth rates and influencing decision-making on reproduction, this new knowledge is also thought to be potentially used within policy formulation and implementation processes.
The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), partly financed by the European Union, aims at gleaning the determinants of demographic choices at the individual level and the causal mechanisms that underlie demographic change by studying relationships between parents and children (generations) and those between partners (gender). It provides a contextual database featuring economic, demographic and policy indicators for 60 countries and a core database containing GGP data collected in 15 countries.
The GGP runs the Generations and Gender Survey, a three-wave panel survey of representative samples of 18 to 79 year-old resident population in more than fifteen states carried out every three years. Its purpose is to increase the knowledge base available to policy makers across these countries by developing a sharper understanding of social and demographic developments. In doing so, the Generations and Gender Programme focuses on relationships between children and parents as well as between partners. Addressing these issues using a prospective view, a multidisciplinary approach encompassing theories on social behaviour and gender, and contextual analysis ensures comparability of the data. This in turn provides a reliable evidence base for policymakers.
The Kinship and Social Security (KASS) project analysed the family networks as a provider of social security and mutual assistance. Although families are considered as the largest provider of social security besides the state, and kinship in social security has major implications for national and EU polices, it remains an under-researched area. One explanation is that conventional data sources such as censuses and surveys do not cover the full range of data needed to evaluate theoretical approaches to the role of kinship in social security. The project therefore tried to fill this research gap on kinship networks using data from ethnographic fieldwork capturing factual details and experiences of relationships and applying interpretative as well as mathematical approaches to the data gathered. Fieldwork studies were carried out in eight European countries and current trends analysed were placed in the historical context of the development family systems and state social security. This interdisciplinary project was funded by the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme and coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale (Germany). An overview of the main findings can be found here.
The DIALOG - Population Policy Acceptance Study (PPAS)project was funded by the European Commission within the Fifth Framework Programme and included a cross-sectional analysis of survey data on practices, attitudes and opinions of Europeans on a variety of topics: demographic changes, fertility behaviour, intergenerational exchange of resources and services, and population related policies. 14 European countries (Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia) took part in the study surveying more than 34 thousand men and women between the age of 18 and 75 between 1999 to 2003. An important part of the PPAS is the change of family and its impact on society. Aspects explored include the reasons for a decrease of fertility rates and delayed marriages, expectations about partnership cohabitations and the ideal work life balance, the desired number of children and expectations towards family policy to fulfil these wishes. The PPAStherefore represents a comprehensive analysis of population related policies which builds upon and extends beyond the area of publicly funded family policies and addresses also within family strategies.
The international DART project focuses at the adjustment of policies on demographic change through the implementation of good practices from previous partner projects, new products and services, and indicators and standards for benchmarking of regions.
MULTILINKS looks into how changing social contexts affect social integration, well-being and intergenerational solidarity across European states. Debates on ageing societies predominantly focus on the circumstances of the old. The project’s approach builds on three key premises about aging societies: ageing affects all age group; there are critical interdependencies between family generations and men and women; analytical levels are to be distinguished: the individual, dyad (parent-child, partners), family, region, historical generation, and country. The project has also a database providing information on a set of intergenerational policy indicators offering facts on social policies and legal frameworks in the 27 EU Member States as well as in Georgia, Norway and Russia (2004 to 2009). The empirical data shows how each state defines, regulates and supports responsibilities between generations.