10. Why Fewer Babies? Understanding and Responding to Low Fertility in Europe

  1. Angela Abela and
  2. Janet Walker
  1. Maria Letizia Tanturri

Published Online: 4 OCT 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch10

Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World

Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World

How to Cite

Tanturri, M. L. (2013) Why Fewer Babies? Understanding and Responding to Low Fertility in Europe, in Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World (eds A. Abela and J. Walker), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch10

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 OCT 2013
  2. Published Print: 31 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119971030

Online ISBN: 9781118320990

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Keywords:

  • low fertility;
  • childlessness;
  • fertility postponement;
  • determinants of low fertility;
  • European fertility;
  • family-friendly policies;
  • gender policies;
  • fertility preferences

Summary

The EU population is characterised by low fertility rates, delayed motherhood and an increase in childlessness among the younger generations. All EU member states now have a fertility rate below the level needed for the replacement of generations. Surveys of fertility preferences, however, show that desired fertility is higher than actual fertility. This chapter discusses the main factors determining low fertility in Europe and reviews the abundant existing literature. It is structured in three parts. The first presents data on fertility levels in European countries; the second provides a review of both classical and contemporary theories, the latter currently still being developed, which explain the emergence of low fertility; and the third analyses the possible (controversial) role of policies responding to low fertility in the European population. A reflection on possible future scenarios is offered in conclusion.