Regional differences in support to families with children and fertility rates

Mare Ainsaar, University of Tartu
Kadri Soo, University of Tartu

Family policy can be defined as purposeful efforts of central and local governments in maintaining and improving well-being of families with children. However analysing measures and an impact of family policy, only central government's efforts are taken into account often and only few studies analyse the measures of family policy on the local governing level (Gauthier 1992, Forssén 1998, Dunkan ja Goodwin 1988). All those local lower level studies have demonstrated large differences in coverage and amount of transfers to families within one country. This obviously cause difference on well-being levels and perhaps also on fertility behaviour in different regions. The aim of the paper is to analyse influence of the regional differences in total child friendliness (all local level financial support directed to families) and direct local family policy (family policy measures as birth and child benefits, day care etc. provided only by the local municipality) to local fertility level. All policy actions are calculated as total investments per one child. Data from a longitudinal survey about child friendliness of local municipalities from 2005-2008 is used to analyse interaction between family policy and fertility. All together information about changes from more than 200 local municipalities was analysed. Results demonstrated interaction between direct support and fertility, but interaction with other local support forms demonstrated more controversial results.

Presented in Session 85: Regional disparities in policies supporting families