Navigation and service

Karl Schwarz (2007)

On Problems Related to Measures for Reconciling Family Activity and Gainful Employment as a Means to Promote Desired Fertility*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 32, 1-2/2007, p. 35-49, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

There has been a birth deficit for more than thirty years, which – without a high level of migration – would of necessity lead to an accelerating population decline over time. Increasingly, therefore, pronatalist demographic policies are being called for. They are to remedy disadvantages which arise by virtue of the fact that – not to put too fine a point on it – children cost money and time, and that time is also money. Or – to put it more humanely – that it is impossible to expect today that the contribution made by parents towards human resources should be free, and to top it all that it should be provided at the expense of women.

Demographers are hence relatively unsuccessful in their assertions that the young generation should want to have at least one child, and that they could even encourage some of them to want more than two children. It was still possible to say more than 100 years ago that those who had no children had to look out for themselves when they were old or ill, whilst today we have sophisticated social insurance systems benefiting even those who have paid in very little or nothing at all.

A solution is therefore recommended, also for Germany, which would leave child-rearing largely up to institutions which, with their trained staff, can allegedly do this job much better than the mothers of those who, now that they are adults, get to decide these matters. This makes demographic, and above all family policy, unintentionally – but probably also deliberately – women’s policy, which can be afforded above all by those who earn a lot of money and can delegate child-rearing to maids and nannies. It is easily forgotten here that there are also women who do not earn much or who cannot find a job and who would also be willing to bring up their children in their families in return for extended child-rearing benefit. It is also frequently easy to forget that institutional child-raising is very expensive and that virtually none of those countries which are held up as a model now have childbirth figures above the minimum replacement level.

* Original title: Zur Problematik von Maßnahmen zur Vereinbarkeit von Familientätigkeit und Erwerbstätigkeit als Mittel zur Förderung des Kinderwunsches (full text in German only)

This Page

© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017