Demographic challenges and the need for a new family policy in Greece
During the lasτ thirty years Greece is captured by a situation known as a “Low fertility trap” which is observed from the low replacement level fertility (below 1.5 children per woman) and the rapid population ageing. This means that the population declines as the birth rate is less than the death rate, while a recovery perspective can be achieved difficult and after a long time period has been elapsed.
This can be partially attributed to the significant postponement of the birth of the first child. At the beginning of the eighties the mean age of women at birth of first child 25-27 years whereas now it is above the age of 30 leading obviously to a decline in the number of births.
This relatively steady decline in live births has at least two certain explanations: Firstly, due to the lack of state support targeted to young potential mothers’ transition from education to career development and their achievement of independent financial status. Secondly, the socio-economic crisis has led to unemployed and low-income families which means they are lacking the economic means to have a two-earner family with one or more children. It is also found that single-parent families and large families with three or more dependent children are financially more fragile. Government intervention is needed and targeted policy including a) Introduction of incentive schemes to support more births at an earlier age in order to overcome the low fertility trap. b) Support families who already have children to combat their financial risk and guarantee an acceptable standard of living, c) Measure to increase positive parental roles.
Local government need to design and implement active policy initiatives (including access to health, education, social services), including their monitoring and evaluation both for young adults (prospective parents) and families with children including single parent and large families.