Intergenerational Changes in the Value System in Europe

  • Irena Kowalska
  • Wiktoria Wróblewska
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 16/1)


This chapter presents intergenerational differences in the value system in the PPAS countries. The analysis focuses on the position of materialistic and non-materialistic values, as well as on the value attached to children, in the personal lives of the older generation (born in 1946–1955) and of the younger generation (born in 1971–1980) in the Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) and in countries in Western Europe. The hypothesis is that the value system differs between these two distinct generational groups and the range of changes depends on a country’s historical background and its geographical and economic position in Europe. This is explored by using the principal component method to relevant variables classified as reflecting materialistic and post-materialistic values and children-related values. The detailed cross-country descriptive analyses by generation and gender reveal differences in relevance of particular variables evaluated in terms of the percentages of respondents who assessed them as “very important”. The results confirmed that, in general, the importance of post-materialistic values increased in all countries among the younger generations of both males and females as compared with the older generations. However, the pace of the evolution of the value system in the CEE countries is slower: materialistic values are still highly relevant among both the younger and older generations. Moreover, the shifts in the system of values are generation-related, but not gender-specific.


Value system Materialistic and post-materialistic values Family- and children-related values Intergenerational change in Europe 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irena Kowalska
    • 1
  • Wiktoria Wróblewska
  1. 1.Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of EconomicsWarsawPoland

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