Declining fertility and policy intervention in Europe: Some lessons for Australia?

  • Graeme HugoEmail author


The contemporary fertility situation in Europe is outlined with emphasis on trends in the late 1990s. It is shown that while most European countries have lower fertility levels than Australia there is wide variation between countries with respect to both their levels of fertility and their rate of fertility decline. While almost all countries are experiencing fertility decline the rate of decline is higher and the fertility is lower in countries where the male-breadwinner model is strongest. Attempts to influence fertility in European nations are discussed, particularly those involving the introduction of family-friendly policies. It is clear that despite popular beliefs to the contrary, societies where male-breadwinner models influence policy most are those with lowest fertility. The lesson for Australia is that family-friendly policies not only are desirable from the perspective of moving toward gender equality but are likely to stabilize or perhaps even marginally increase fertility.


Total Fertility Rate Fertility Decline Fertility Level Gender Equity Family Policy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geographical and Environmental StudiesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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