Family, I love you

Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
Are the Europeans trying to counter say the famous quote from the French writer André Gide “Family, I hate you!”? Indeed, whereas France has just become the leader of the fecundity rate in Europe for 2008, with more than two children per woman, this rate is confirming a recent study Eurobaromètre (Eurobarometer) published in October 2008.

At the time of globalisation, the Europeans and particularly French people are focusing on their families.

Among the 27,000 interviewed European citizens above 15 years old in the 27 countries of the EU, 9 out of 10 declare being satisfied with their family life and 52% are even “really satisfied”. France is above the average with more than 54% of very satisfied people.

Balance between private and professional life

Many Europeans seem to aim mostly at finding a balance between private and professional life, particularly for women and single-parent families. 50% of the interviewed people find it difficult to reach this balance. The Hungarians (24%) and the Portuguese (33%) appear to be the least satisfied with the balance between family and work. Life cost weighs the most on European families' daily life. Accommodation hit the top with 39% of the interviewed people, followed with 32% for child minding and help for the elderly, i.e. expenses for the most dependent members of the family. On the contrary, the Finns (37%), the Danes and the Swedes seem more satisfied with their public aid concerning child minding in the first place. 49% of French people declare themselves satisfied, even very satisfied with the child minding system in France.

France: the European champion of fecundity

Could this high satisfaction rate explain this record in fecundity that France has been witnessing these past few years? And to such an extent that it even beats the very catholic Ireland? The Paris example seems to be revealing. For Patrick Pétour, deputy director at the INSEE (statistics institute) Ile-de-France, “Paris is becoming attractive again for families” (in the newspapers 20 Minutes, January 13). According to him, “a rather active policy to build housing and infrastructures such as kindergarten … enables an easier balance between professional and private life.” Paris has 56,100 more inhabitants than in 1999, whereas the population in this capital had been decreasing since 1950s. Besides, the municipality is trying to meet the need of the Parisian baby-boom. Christophe Najdovski, deputy in the city council and in charge of matters concerning children confirms it : “Since 2001, 5,800 places in kindergarten have been opened and we are planning to add 4,500 more by 2014.” (From 20 Minutes)

Sources :

– Etude Eurobaromètre (Octobre 2008) – 20 minutes (13 janvier 2008) –

Family life and the needs of an aging populationLes naissances font gonfler la capitaleLa France, championne d'Europe de la fécondité

Translation : Cecile Zandvliet