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Family policies and fertility in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (SUDA - SPaDE)
2011 (English)In: Fertility and Public Policy: How to Reverse the Trend of Declining Birth Rates / [ed] Noriyuki Takayama and Martin Werding, Cambridge MA: MIT Press , 2011, 203-218 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a Europe where most countries exhibit low or “lowest-low” fertility, the experience of Sweden and its Nordic neighbors has become of increasing interest to policy makers and social scientists concerned with the causes and consequences of low fertility. Nordic fertility can be labeled as “highest-low”: the fertility of Sweden and its neighbors is below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman but still high as compared to many other developed countries. Fertility in Sweden has fluctuated during recent decades but, as in the other Nordic countries with a similar welfare-state setup, it has stayed well above the European average. The present chapter provides insights into the recent childbearing developments in Sweden and discusses the role of family policies in shaping childbearing behavior. Evidence is provided that institutional factors appear to be far more decisive than cultural ones in influencing childbearing behavior, and some specific impacts of family policies on childbearing dynamics are demonstrated. In this respect, it is important to note that Swedish family policies have never been aimed directly at encouraging childbirth. Their main goal has rather been to support women’s labor-force participation and to promote gender equality: any fertility-stimulating impact needs to be seen as a side effect of these policies. The reconciliation of family and working life of women in Sweden is supported by the design of the country’s taxation, social-security, and parental-leave systems, and the easy access to high-quality subsidized child-care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge MA: MIT Press , 2011. 203-218 p.
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54136ISBN: 978-0-262-01451-9OAI: diva2:392028
SPaDE Linnaeus Center
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-08-11Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Gunnar
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Department of Sociology
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